Prosecution withdraws appeal, Shafee’s acquittal stands

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5: The prosecution has withdrawn their appeal to reverse lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s acquittal in two money laundering cases involving RM9.5 million allegedly received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and two other charges for making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

A statement issued by Shafee & Co. on behalf of Muhammad Shafee today stated that the Attorney-General/ Public Prosecutor has filed a notice of discontinuance of the appeal in the Court of Appeal against the decision of the High Court in acquitting Muhammad Shafee of all charges.

“Accordingly, the said appeal before the Court of Appeal is deemed dismissed pursuant to Rule 73 of the Rules of the Court of Appeal 1994,” the statement read.

That means Muhammad Shafee’s acquittal in all four cases stands.

According to the statement, the decision of the Attorney General/ Public Prosecutor is not only an exercise of discretion without fear or favour but also underpins the unimpeachable nature of the High Court decision where the learned judge found in both fact and law that there was no element of a predicate offence (illegal activity) to give rise to charges of money laundering and thus acquitting Muhammad Shafee of all charges without his defence being called.

“In this regard, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee would like to thank his lawyers, family, friends and the public at large for their unwavering support over the past five years during his quest to prove his innocence over charges that he has consistently stated were arbitrary in nature.

“Following that, he looks forward to continuing his professional endeavours with the same dedication and integrity that have always guided him in the service of his clients and remains committed to upholding the principles of justice and fairness for all,” it said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz when contacted, confirmed the matter and said the withdrawal was filed on Dec 1.

On Oct 29, 2022, High Court Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin acquitted and discharged Muhammad Shafee on all four charges after finding the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case against him at the end of its case.

On Sept 13, 2018, Muhammad Shafee pleaded not guilty to two counts of receiving proceeds from unlawful activity via cheques issued by Najib, which were remitted into Muhammad Shafee’s CIMB Bank Berhad account.

He allegedly received a cheque for RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and another for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.

Muhammad Shafee was also charged with two counts of engaging in transactions resulting from illegal activities, namely submitting incorrect tax returns, which violates paragraph 113 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013, and Dec 31, 2014.