THE second claimant in a libel case involving Gwent Conservative AM Mohammad Asghar continued to give evidence yesterday, as he pursues libel action against five members of the Newport Muslim community.
In a civil hearing held at Newport Crown Court, Abdul Rahman Mujahid continued to give evidence in his case against Manzoor Ahmed, Farzand Ali, Shokat Butt, Mohammed Ali Hayat and Javed Javed.
Mr Mujahid and the AM, are suing five members of the Muslim community over defamatory allegations made on a website, in a newsletter and in a dossier handed to Welsh Conservative party leader Andrew RT Davies.
They claim it was sent to a number of prominent politicians in January 2012, with the AM telling the court it contained allegations that were “totally, totally wrong”.
As of yesterday, the two claimants are now represented by William Bennett and Catherine Grubb.
At the start of his evidence on Friday, Mr Mujahid, who chairs the Muslim Welfare Association of Wales, said that he had held a position in the mosque since 1989 and in that time had no complaints until 2011 from respondent Manzoor Ahmed.
David Leathley representing respondent Shokat Bhutt, questioned Mr Mujahid on the transparency of the accounts of the Jamia Trust.
In his evidence Mr Mujahid said that the accounts had been published annually and confirmed to the judge that he would be able to ring his accountant and provide the documentation. In his examination Mr Leathley said: “You can remember that the interim management committee have questioned the transparency of accounts and raised it in a meeting?”
To which Mr Mujahid said he was a member of that committee.
Mr Leathley also asked the second claimant whether he had tried to promote support for the AM within the mosque to which Mr Mujahid replied “no”.
Mr Leathley also asked; “Have you had any money handed to you so that you could visit Saudi Arabia?”
To which Mr Mujahid replied that he had received money from the first claimant in order to make a ‘pilgrimage’.
He confirmed to the judge Justice Jeremy Baker that the money was exchanged directly from the AM to himself but denied Mr Leathley’s allegation that it was a “sweetener” from the AM for continued support and said that he did not consider it would put him in a “compromising position”.
When cross-examined by respondent Mohammed Ali Hayat regarding the dossier, the second claimant said he had seen the dossier in question at the police station and confirmed to Mr Hayat that he had looked through it at that time.
He denied Mr Hayat’s allegations that he was a liar and to his question as to whether he hated Mr Hayat he said: “I have never given any harm, to any person in my life”.