Lawyer Shafee thinks the creation and release of the tapes is an inside job, carried out to influence Najib’s ongoing trials.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak has expressed shock over the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) airing of nine audio recordings allegedly showing attempts at cover-ups and subversion of justice by high-ranking officials, including himself.
“I am shocked by this revelation,” he said when met by the press outside of the High Court on Wednesday (Jan 8).
“I will look into what could be done legally. During that time, I was the head of government,” he added.
Najib, who was on the stand earlier at the SRC International trial, said he would study the content of the recordings and had referred the matter to his lawyer.
The former prime minister, however, did not confirm nor deny whether the conversations took place and said that he would have to look into the contents of the audio recordings.
“I haven’t checked,” he said.
He also said he would be looking into possible legal action as the audio recordings appeared to be from taps on his phone.
Najib added that such a public revelation was unprecedented in the country’s history.
Meanwhile, his lawyers are considering taking legal action against the MACC and its chief commissioner Latheefa Koya.
Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today said he and his team are seriously looking into initiating subjudice and contempt proceedings against MACC and Latheefa, while repeatedly questioning their conduct and objectives in making the recordings public.
Shafee chided Latheefa, who was a practising civil rights lawyer before her appointment as commissioner, saying she should have known as a lawyer that releasing such information related to an ongoing trial is against the law.
“Releasing the tapes now and discussing in public in a media release is, in fact, subjudice, and is in fact a contempt (of the court).
“We are seriously contemplating a contempt action against MACC, and in particular Latheefa Koya,” he said.
“As a lawyer she should know that this is not just merely bordering contempt, it is contemptuous, (and) now, was MACC trying to influence and subjudice the ongoing trials?” he questioned.
During Latheefa’s press conference, Najib was testifying in his own defence in his SRC International RM42 million corruption trial.
Shafee alleged that the tapes were released as part of an inside job, with hopes of influencing the outcome of Najib’s ongoing trials.
He also expressed doubts that it was one individual who was behind the creation and release of the tapes, suggesting an institution or faction.
“I want to hazard a guess. I think it is an inside job that has done it; they suddenly realised that they need to influence the case and they purposely leak it,” he claimed.
Shafee believes the phone tapping of a sitting prime minister is illegal.
“You can’t do it. You have got to have authority and nothing less than from the attorney-general’s side,” he said.
“It could be attorney-general himself, or the solicitor-general who gives you permission, or there must be a level of security clearance before you get a wiretap.”
Shafee also said the audio clips will not be admissible as evidence in court as Latheefa had said earlier today that the agency received the clips from an anonymous source recently.
“If the person wants to remain anonymous, clearly it is not admissible because in order for the tape recording to be admissible, you have to show a few things. The history and genuineness,” the lawyer said.
“I think there is a lot more suspicion on who recorded it because there is a capacity to record not just Najib alone, but also him with (former MACC chief) Dzulkifli (Ahmad), Najib with heads of government.
“Whoever did it has breached every single law that I know.”
Shafee said the normal procedure would be launching a confidential investigation from a police or MACC report.
The lawyer believes Latheefa has breached the Official Secrets Act as certain matters discussed in her press conference today are likely classified.
“Latheefa herself said these are official secrets that Dzulkifli was discussing. She is guilty of the same thing because these matters have yet to be investigated,” Shafee said.
“The worst thing was that all this information was played to the public when she herself knew her agency was not going to investigate.
“She said she’s passing the entire investigation to the police. What she literally has done is that she’s pre-empted (the police) and emptied the investigation file to the police that is about to investigate.”