PUTRAJAYA, April 8 — The bankruptcy notice served by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) against Datuk Seri Najib Razak for failure to settle some RM1.69 billion tax arrears was a political conspiracy to disqualify him from contesting elections, his lawyer insisted today.
Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said he was informed that the bankruptcy notice was to be served two days after Umno adopted a resolution to sever ties with Perikatan Nasional at its 75th annual general assembly held on March 28.
“You know the notice was served last Monday (April 5) but we were informed it will be served about few days before, just two days after Umno’s AGM where a decision was made to break away from the current government.
“So it is quite clear that this is an abuse of process.
“It is clear intimidation, extortion and abuse of power. If it was not a legal authority doing it, it will be a criminal act,” he told a press conference after Najib’s appeal hearing against the former prime minister’s conviction and jail sentence for misappropriation of RM42 million SRC International funds at the Court of Appeal.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Najib had claimed to be a victim of another ploy to strip him of his status as an MP before the 15th general election and questioned the timing of the bankruptcy notice.
Affirming Najib’s sentiment, Shafee said it was quite clear that some people were interested in disqualifying his client from participating in future elections or holding party posts.
He also said he has received instructions from Najib to file applications the soonest to stay a bankruptcy proceeding the IRB seeks to initiate and to set aside the entire bankruptcy notice.
“We are also asking a stay against the RM1.69 billion summary judgment order,” he said.
The High Court has previously fixed June 11 to hear Najib’s bid to stay the court’s order for him to settle RM1.69 billion in additional income tax arrears to the IRB.
On July 22, last year, the High Court allowed IRB’s application for a summary judgment to be entered against Najib in its suit to recover the RM1.69 billion in taxes from the former prime minister for the period between 2011 and 2017.
In June 2019, the-then Pakatan Harapan government, through IRB filed the suit against Najib asking him to settle the unpaid tax with interest at five per cent, a year from the date of judgment, as well as costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.
The government claimed that Najib had failed to pay his income tax from 2011 to 2017 within the stipulated 30-day period after assessment notices were issued by the IRB.