Police have confirmed a request from the Criminal Court to bring former Atolls Minister Abdulla Hameed before a court in the Maldives, after a summons could not be delivered to him in a pending case.
Several hearings have been cancelled in a high-profile corruption case involving Hameed, who is the brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, after the court was unable to determine his whereabouts and deliver a summons.
Police said that the Immigration Department had been instructed to hold Hameed’s passport should he ever return to the Maldives.
Police spokesperson Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam explained that when the court first requested police to produce Hameed he was not in the Maldives.
”But the court have not yet issued an arrest warrant or requested his arrest via Interpol,” Shiyam said. ”His whereabouts remain unknown.”
Hameed is being sought by the court in a trial concerning corruption allegations in the former Atoll’s Ministry’s Audit Report.
The audit of the Atolls Ministry’s showed that 17 staff employed by the Ministry in 2007 never appeared for work but were being regularly paid by the Ministry, at a total cost of Rf1.4 million (US$109,000).
According to the report, a further 38 persons employed by the ministry were not assigned any daily work, but were also paid regularly. The report stated that occasionally the heads of atolls were brought to Male’ and kept for a long period of time without assigning them any duties. One such atoll head was brought to Male’ in October 2007 and left 10 months later in August 2008, at a cost to the Ministry of Rf 241,862 (US$18,800).
Web of corruption
In March last year, minority opposition People’s Alliance MP Ahmed Nazim pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding the atolls ministry.
At a press conference in August 2009, Chief Inspector Ismail Atheef said police had uncovered evidence that implicated Hameed along with Eydhafushi MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem, former director of finance at the ministry, and Deputy Speaker Nazim in fraudulent transactions worth over US$260,000 (Mrf 3,446,950).
Police exhibited numerous quotations, agreements, tender documents, receipts, bank statements and forged cheques proving that Nazim received over US$400,000 in the scam.
A hard disk seized during a raid of Nazim’s office in May allegedly contained copies of forged documents and bogus letter heads.
Police maintain that money was channelled through the scam to Nazim who laundered cash through Namira Engineering and other unregistered companies.
Police further alleged that MP Saleem actively assisted the scam in his then-position as director of finance at the ministry, while Nazim’s wife Zeenath Abdullah had abused her position as a manager of the Bank of Maldives’ Villingili branch to deposit proceeds of the fraudulent conspiracy.
Police said Hameed, also long-time Speaker of the People’s Majlis, played a key role in the fraud by handing out bids without public announcements, making advance payments using cheques against the state asset and finance regulations, approving bid documents for unregistered companies and discriminatory treatment of bid applicants.