Government sends defrauded pilgrims to Mecca

The government has sent the 121 victims of the al-Fatuh Hajj and Umra group frauds on the Hajj pilgrimage under the care of the Hajj Corporation.

According to local media, the people sent today were those who had paid al-Fatuh and obtained their visas before the company pleaded bankruptcy to the Islamic Ministry explaining that it would not be able send the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

Haveeru reported that the government has spent MVR9 million (US$584,036) to cover the expenses of the defrauded pilgrims.

At a press conference on Friday, Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said that the government was covering the expenses of the victims because the Saudi Arabian Government might reduce the quota to the Maldivians if the full quota is not fulfilled.

The 1000 pilgrims quota provided by the Saudi Arabian Government is split into two, with 500 reserved for the Hajj Corporation and the rest divided into private corporations chosen after a bidding process.