Anti-graft director readies for courtroom brawl with Islamic affairs minister

National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) director Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir (pictured) confirmed receiving a letter of demand from the lawyer of Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. — File pic
National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) director Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir (pictured) confirmed receiving a letter of demand from the lawyer of Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Slapped with a RM10 million defamation lawsuit, National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) director Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir said today he has assembled his team of lawyers to fight Minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Akmal who has accused the Islamic affairs minister of fund abuse, confirmed he has received the legal challenge against him.

“I have received the letter of demand from Jamil Khir’s lawyer last Friday, on November 20, 2015.

“I have 14 days to file a memorandum of appearance to begin the case,” he told reporters at the NOW office in Sungai Besi here.

On Thursday, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom filed a RM10 million defamation lawsuit against Akmal over the PKR-linked group’s claims that the Islamic affairs minister abused funds meant for an orphanage.

Jamil Khir said Akmal’s statements accusing him of misusing charity foundation Yayasan Pembangunan Ekonomi Islam Malaysia’s (Yapeim) funds had depicted him as a dishonest and corrupt politician who cannot be trusted.

According to the statement of claim, Akmal’s allegations made on November 13 that Jamil Khir had used Yapeim money to fund a US shopping and golfing trip last year were defamatory.

Akmal had said the trip, which was allegedly funded by Yayasan Pembangunan Anak Yatim/Miskin (Pemangkin), an institution under the watch of Yapeim that falls under Jamil Khir’s purview, had cost more than RM410,000.

Meanwhile, he said the police have yet to call him in for questioning yet.

Akmal was responding to news reports yesterday quoting Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as saying that the police have opened a file on Yapeim following NOW’s corruption allegations against the federal charity organisation.

However, no arrests have been made yet as investigations are still in the preliminary stages.