In letter to judges, Zaid Ibrahim firm claims Shafee made ‘false’ statement during Najib’s final SRC appeal

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A dispute is taking place between two lawyers who represented Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Federal Court for his final SRC International conviction appeal.

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and his partner Liew Teck Huat from the law firm Zaid Ibrahim Sufian TH Liew & Partners have accused Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah of the firm Shafee & Co of making a “false” statement in open court earlier this week and sought to “set the record straight” about Najib’s representation.

In a letter to the Federal Court judges, Zaid and Liew rejected Shafee’s claim that he “removed himself” from acting for Najib in the SRC International corruption appeal due to dissatisfaction with Zaid’s team.

Both Zaid and Liew pointed out to the judges that Najib had discharged Shafee from representing him as counsel on July 25.

“The assertion that Tan Sri Shafee decided to discharge himself from acting for the appellant is false.

“We are therefore compelled to write to the Honourable Court to humbly set the record straight.

“We know this because when instructed to take over conduct of the case, we were extended a copy of the appellant’s (Najib) letter to (Shafee) dated July 25, 2022 discharging (Shafee) and his firm for several reasons set out therein,” they said in the letter.

Malay Mail was given a copy of the letter today by Zaid.

Zaid and Liew added that Shafee knew he had been discharged from representing Najib as the Federal Court had been formally informed by the law firm Shafee & Co on the morning of July 26 before the appeal was heard.

Zaid and Liew said they had received a copy of the discharge letter that listed the reasons of Shafee’s removal but said they were unable to disclose them on grounds of solicitor-client confidentiality.

“We are constrained from disclosing this letter to the Honourable Court because of legal professional privilege,” they said in the letter to the judges.

They added that they were duty-bound to inform the court of Shafee’s misleading statements.

“The fact that [Shafee] would deliberately make an untrue statement in open court for whatever reason, is, with respect, not something that can be left uncorrected,” Zaid and Liew said.

Najib had been found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering.

The Court of Appeal had on December 8, 2021 upheld the High Court’s July 2020 verdict and sentence of 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million meted against Najib.

A five-judge panel at the Federal Court, led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, upheld Najib’s conviction and sentence on August 23 after a hearing which lasted five days. – MMO