Shafee To File Contempt Proceedings Against Certain Media

Some of the recent media reports on the ongoing 1MDB-Tanore trial are lopsided and biased, Shafee said

KUALA LUMPUR – Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah, the counsel for former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, today disclosed that they will be filing a contempt of court proceedings against certain media organisations, in particular the New Straits Times, for biased and lopsided reporting, he told a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur High Court here today.

He had earlier told the 1MDB-Tanore trial that his client, Najib Razak, has taken exception to some of the media reports, especially the one recently published by the New Straits Times and carried by some other media outlets, which quoted a witness claiming that Najib had used the US$618 million linked to 1MDB to influence votes during the 2013 General Election in 2013 (GE13).

The claim was made by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) senior officer Nur Aida Arifin, who was the trial’s 49th prosecution witness.

Shafee: Fair Trial Concept Being Compromised

Shafee raised this issue during proceedings before judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah that his client is being prejudiced, thus compromising the concept of a fair trial. This, he said, was because US$620 million from the US$681 million had been returned to its sender.

“Never in my 46 years of experience as a lawyer have I seen an investigating officer give this kind of statement in a trial.

“She is drawing a conclusion as if writing a judgment from the judge… she tries to give an opinion, which is all hearsay,” he said during the trial proceedings as well as at the press conference today.

No Proof

Shafee said there was never any proof that the money was used to influence GE13.

“There is only evidence that the money was used by various Umno divisions and for corporate social responsibility efforts.

“My client didn’t use it for personal use. It was given to Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) for election expenses… not for buying votes,” he said.

One of the Reports Which Shafee Abdullah Said His Client Najib Razak Has Taken Exception To.
One of the reports which Shafee Abdullah said his client Najib Razak has taken exception to

However, deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib said the prosecution cannot control media reports.

He also argued that the media was only reporting what Aida was saying, in which she had referred to a report lodged with MACC in 2015, which claimed that funds from 1MDB were used to buy votes during GE13.

“The report was based on Nur Aida’s testimony over a report made against Najib.

“We cannot control how they (the media) write their reports… it is beyond us.

“It is not fair for the defence to pin allegations against us that we are doing funny things here,” he said.

Akram also argued that the MACC was legally bound to protect the identity of the complainant.

“When it comes to filing a report (for the record) it will be done by an officer, not the complainant,” he said.

Akram added he will make amendments to Aida’s witness statement including expunging some parts of the statement, including inserting references to documents to be adduced into evidence, by 8 Jan.

Hearsay

The defence, all this while, had argued that Nur Aida’s testimony was hearsay as she had drawn various conclusions about the case.

Shafee had said the current witness had made conclusions from the report she received which were made by someone else.

“She is just an investigating officer, not an expert. We can’t allow a layman witness to make a conclusion from the report she received.

“By doing that, she has done the job for Yang Arif (the judge),” Shafee claimed.

However, the court told the defence to include this in their submissions at the end of the prosecution case.

Shafee told the press conference later that the contempt proceedings will be presented next week after sending a show-cause letter to the related media outlets.

UN Update

On another note, Shafee said that they have yet to receive the decision by the United Nations panel on arbitrary detention as yet.

“We are aware now that the UN body has moved onto our matter. You must know that the UN committee on arbitrary detention has received numerous complaints and those acting on these complaints comprise only of 10 members of which only five of them will meet to discuss at one time, so it’s a slow process.

“But we are aware that the process towards Datuk Seri Najib’s petition has started. So we are now waiting for the responses and hope that the process can be speeded up.”

Shafee had earlier said during a Townhall for Justice session in September 2023 that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is known as an active body in upholding human rights and consists of a committee with the “top legal minds at the global level”. He also said it was embarrassing that Najib needed assistance from external parties to ensure justice.

The trial continues. – NMH


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