PETALING JAYA: A senior Singapore lawyer has branded allegations against him by Shafee Abdullah in federal court as “contemptible” and “shockingly false”.
“I’m not surprised he would stoop so low because that’s characteristic of him,” Niru Pillai said in a statement.
“His fiendish claim that I am ‘about to be disciplined by the Singapore Bar’ for (I) practicing without a license” is scandalous, despicable and false.
“(Shafee) doesn’t realize that there are a lot of written records, including taped conversations and WhatsApp messages, of what actually happened.
“These will speak for themselves at the appropriate time and forum so that Shafee is made visible to all.”
Niru responded to Shafee’s comments about him at last week’s hearing of Najib Razak’s bid to seek a review of the Federal Court’s decision to uphold the former Prime Minister’s conviction and sentence in the SRC International corruption case.
He said Shafee merely engaged in “predictable behavior” by trying to cover up his “shortcomings and mistakes” by “slandering everyone, including the trial judge.”
The primary reason Shafee’s motion for new evidence in federal court regarding trial judge Nazlan Ghazali’s previous role as general counsel for Maybank and his involvement with 1MDB failed was because the evidence was already known to Shafee, while Najib’s Process was going, he said.
“The so-called ‘fresh’ evidence was not fresh in the sense of the law. It was already known to Shafee and his team as Najib’s attorney.
“That knowledge was legally attributable to Najib,” Niru said, noting that that was the federal court’s decision when the application was processed last August.
“Shafee’s claim that he didn’t know shows credibility and gullibility,” he said.
Niru said Shafee was unable to explain his “colossal failure and gross negligence” in conducting Najib’s trial.
“Hence his convenient diversionary insult against (lawyer Zaid Ibrahim) and myself,” he said.
He said he had secured the services of two of India’s leading lawyers, Sidharth Luthra and Kavin Gulati, at Zaid’s request.
“My role was just to coordinate between the Indian team and (Zaid’s) team,” he said.
Although Najib’s original intent was for Shafee and Zaid’s teams to work together, he said Shafee’s “shenanigans shocked even Najib” and prompted the former prime minister to end Shafee’s services and appoint Zaid’s team to take over.
“(Shafee) acted like he knew what documents we wanted and just delivered documents in clogged globs.
“The senior Indian lawyers were completely frustrated and dumbfounded by his antics and idiosyncrasies.
“These are all well documented,” he said.
Najib, 69, requested the review in September last year, shortly after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction on abuse of power, criminal embezzlement and money laundering in the SRC case.
On August 23, a five-member bench chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat also upheld Najib’s 12-year prison sentence and RM210 million fine, or, in default, an additional five years in prison.
Najib is demanding that that decision be overturned and that another federal court, composed of at least seven judges, repeat his appeal.
On August 16, before the actual appeal hearing, he saw a motion for admission to present additional evidence and disqualify Nazlan, who led the trial, thrown off the bench.
The court then denied his request for an adjournment to allow his new legal team to prepare and argue his appeal.