KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Nurul Izzah Anwar could soon face a full-blown defamation hearing for alleging of funds abuse in the controversial National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project two years ago if talks for a settlement fall through, National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp)’s lawyers said today.
The lawyers claimed that the PKR vice-president and party secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail are now in a “tight spot” after they relied on party colleague Rafizi Ramli’s “flawed conjectures” on NFCorp, which ran the failed multi-million ringgit cattle rearing project.
Having sued Nurul Izzah and Saifuddin on December 24 last year, NFCorp’s lawyer Wan Shahrizal Wan Ladin said mediation talks were held today and will continue on June 9.
But if both sides fail to reach a settlement, NFCorp and its chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail will proceed with a full trial before High Court judge Datuk Hue Siew Kheng, the lawyer said in a statement today.
Citing court documents, NFCorp’s law firm Wan Shahrizal, Hari & Co claimed that Nurul Izzah had allegedly defamed their clients by using Rafizi’s purportedly “flawed conjectures” based on bank loans.
Rafizi, who is the PKR strategic director, now also faces a lawsuit for allegedly lying and misrepresenting “confidential banking information of 21 accounts” belonging to NFCorp and its chairman, the law firm said.
“Nurul who was also present at the same news conference of 7 March 2012, and who echoed in support of the slander relying on Rafizi’s conjectures without proper verification of the information, will now face the same fate,” Wan Shahrizal said in a statement today, adding that the information she relied on were allegedly “fabrications”.
“Nurul’s statements would be taken to mean that Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh had allegedly misused the company’s funds to buy the eight units of KL Eco City office property lots, that he was allegedly untrustworthy, a criminal, greedy and had used his wife’s position to gain wealth,” he added.
In a statement of claim previously shown to reporters, Nurul Izzah’s remarks were said to purportedly indicate that Mohamad Salleh had allegedly used government funds and public funds to gain personal wealth and live a luxurious life, or had conspired with NFCorp to cheat or abuse public funds.
Nurul Izzah was also alleged to have said on March 7, 2012 that the funds for the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) — a cattle-rearing project previously managed by NFCorp — were purportedly used to buy eight properties at a cost of RM12 million.
The second-term Lembah Pantai MP had allegedly claimed that there was a “conflict of interest” in the property purchase.
In her remarks that were carried by online news channel Malaysiakini TV, Nurul Izzah had allegedly questioned the role of Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, a former minister who is also Mohamad Salleh’s wife, in the purchase of the condominiums.
Mohamad Salleh and his three children, who were also the directors of NFCorp, came under public scrutiny after their company’s national cattle-farming project — which was funded by RM250 million in federal loans — failed.
He has since then been charged with two counts of criminal breach of trust involving nearly RM50 million in funds and another two counts of violating the Companies Act.
After her term as a senator ended, Shahrizat’s service as the women, family and community development minister was also not extended.
After the 13th general election, she was appointed as the special adviser to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on women affairs.