Najib’s lawyers mulling suit against MACC, Latheefa following release of voice clips

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 8, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 8, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyers are considering taking legal action against the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) and its chief commissioner Latheefa Koya following the revelation of phone call recordings that suggested conspiracy at the highest level of the former Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

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 practicing 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.

At a special press conference at the MACC headquarters this morning, MACC chief Latheefa released recordings of conversations between January 5, 2016 and July 29 that same year, around the period when the US Justice Department announced its anti-kleptocracy investigation into 1MDB.

During Latheefa’s press conference, Najib was testifying in his own defence in his SRC International RM42 million corruption trial.

Aside from Najib, other recorded conversations involved Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, ex-MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Umno’s Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and several foreign dignitaries were also revealed today.

Shafee today also accused Latheefa of being unable to drop her political habits as he questioned the timing of the release, which he said was done ‘conveniently’ with the Kimanis by-election approaching.

“Every time we have a by-election, some sort of this kind of issue comes up and this time is about this tape recording

“So is she involved in politics? Is she still interested in how Kimanis will turn out to be?

“Then she should resign and go back to politics, because you have to make up your mind,” he said.

Shafee, who is also Najib’s lead defence counsel in his ongoing trials, then 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.

“Whoever does it has got the audacity to breach every single law that I know, and I have my doubt it is an individual.

“I think it is, I want to hazard and 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.

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