THE leader of the Welsh Conservative group in the National Assembly denied accusations of wrongdoing yesterday in the hearing of a Gwent AM taking libel action against five members of the Muslim community.
Mohammad Asghar, AM for South Wales East, along with his friend Abdul Rahman Mujahid, is seeking damages for alleged defamatory allegations made on a website, in a newsletter, and in a dossier which was handed to Andrew RT Davies, the Welsh Conservative party leader.
Action is being brought against Manzoor Ahmed, Farzand Ali, Shokat Bhutt, Mohammed Ali Hayat and Javed Javed.
The dossier which was handed to Mr Davies is alleged to have contained accusations of money laundering.
Giving evidence at a trial in Newport Crown Court yesterday, Mr Davies confirmed that he had met members of the Muslim community on January, 28, 2012, at the Jamia and Al Noor Mosque in Newport.
He told the court that Mr Hayat was representing the group and had presented the dossier to him some time during the meeting.
He said: “At the closure of the meeting, I informed all participants that I would make Mr Asghar aware of the dossier and the points raised, and that I would form an opinion in my role as leader of the Welsh Conservatives on whether it was a political matter.
“It wasn’t a political or party matter, it was an internal dispute with members of the community and Mr Asghar.
“In my role as leader I would have no further involvement in this matter as it was an individual concerns.”
Mr Hayat, who is representing himself, accused Mr Davies of ‘shielding’ and ‘covering’ up for Mr Asghar.
Mr Davies, who denied the allegation, said: “Mr Ashgar enjoyed my support as an Assembly Member who had a place within my shadow cabinet.
“I believe I took the correct action.
“I formed an opinion that there was no issue in my role as party leader.”
Mr Hyat denies handing over the dossier to the Conservative leader and accused him of ‘betraying the Muslim community’ by not taking any action against Mr Asghar.