In a significant turn of events, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has opted to discontinue its appeal against senior lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s acquittal in a high-profile money-laundering case.
This case involved RM9.5 million allegedly received from imprisoned former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as well as false declarations made to the Inland Revenue Board.
Shafee, in a statement following the AGC’s decision, highlighted that the attorney general had filed a notice of discontinuance, effectively resulting in the dismissal of the appeal.
He emphasised the AG’s exercise of discretion, emphasizing the High Court’s ruling that found no grounds for a predicate offence related to illegal activity, leading to Shafee’s acquittal without the need for his defense to be presented.
Last year, High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin ruled in favor of Shafee, asserting that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case on all four charges.
Specifically, the court found insufficient evidence linking the RM4.3 million allegedly received in 2013 and the subsequent RM5.2 million in 2014 to illicit proceeds.
The withdrawal of the appeal was reportedly communicated through a court letter to concerned parties, citing Rule 73 of the Rules of the Court of Appeal 1994. However, no specific reasons were provided for this decision.
Shafee faced a total of four charges, two pertaining to money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, and two related to false declarations to the IRB under the Income Tax Act.
The legal proceedings originated from Shafee’s plea of not guilty in 2018, contesting allegations of receiving proceeds of unlawful activities via cheques issued by Najib, subsequently deposited into Shafee’s CIMB Bank Bhd account.
Moreover, Shafee was accused of submitting inaccurate tax returns for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013, and Dec 31, 2014, by omitting the aforementioned sums from his tax declarations.