Police arrest two suspects over US$1million counterfeit notes

Police arrested two suspects on Thursday after recovering counterfeit dollars worth nearly US$1 million.

The two suspects have been identified by the police as 34 year-old Umar Ahmedfulhu of Banbukeyogasdhoshuge from Madduvaree island in Raa Atoll, and 29 year-old Ahmed Munnavaru of Tharividhaage from Kolamaafushi island in Gaafu Alif atoll.

According to Superintendent of Police Mohamed Riyaz, police investigators recovered the nearly US$1 million believed to be smuggled into the country from abroad.

Riyaz said US$774,900 was recovered from a bag Ahmedfulhu was carrying when he was arrested at an unnamed bank in Male’ on Thursday afternoon.

The suspect was attempting to deposit the fake notes at the bank, Riyaz added.

The second suspect, Munnavaru, was arrested the same evening while sitting at a café in the south west harbor of Male’.

During a court-ordered search of Munnavaru’s residence, police seized counterfeit notes from a cardboard box labeled in Dhivehi as “smoked fish 13 kilos”, Riyaz revealed, adding that police recovered counterfeit dollars from Munnavaru’s wallet as well.

Though police did not specify if the two suspects are connected, Riyaz observed that all the counterfeit notes recovered from both suspects were US$ 100 bills, labeled with a four-digit serial number.

The police are further investigating the case.

The Maldives penal code states that “possession of a counterfeit coin or note knowing it to be counterfeit and to be used fraudulently or in circumstances that it may be likely to be used as fraudulently” is an offence which carries maximum five year imprisonment or exile, or a fine.

The delivery of counterfeit note or coin is also counted as an offence, with a sentence of maximum three years in exile or imprisonment while the person found guilty can also be subjected to a fine.

However, leniency is offered if the person found guilty did not have knowledge that the note or coin is counterfeit, prior to possession.

The counterfeit dollars bust coincides with the reports of increasing demand for US dollars in the black market, due to the crippling dollar shortage the Maldivian economy has been suffering.

Local importers, Maldivians travelling outside the country and expatriate workers seeking to export their remittances are forced to rely on the unofficial black market, as they are unable to change the required amount into dollars at banks which strictly control the supply.


5 thoughts on “Police arrest two suspects over US$1million counterfeit notes”

  1. The criminal court apparently acquited a similar case in the past stating that the provision in the law only applies to maldivian currency. Maldives a safe haven for smart money launderers who can use this loop hole in the 'Maldivian law'?

  2. Hard to deny this charge,not as if they had a single forged note..How many fakes are hidden in peoples homes..If they all have the same serial number,it should be disclosed, for people to check the dollars they may have..Back here in the UK,nearly every shop/business have a piece of equipment to check any notes..

  3. It is pitiful that we still do not have;

    A modern Penal Code.

    A Criminal Procedures Act.

    An Evidence Act.

    Laws criminalizing Credit Card Fraud.

    Laws criminalizing Money Laundering and Counterfeiting.

    In the absence of these guidelines the courts should be provided with some form of reference to the law in order to criminalize these acts as a stopgap measure until the proper laws and regulations can be drafted and enacted.

  4. Tsk tsk how about we write a petition to our MPs to fast track these bills in parliament? Did you know many of the laws you mention have been submitted by this government to parliament since the beginning of this term.

  5. I am aware of that fact. However Haleem, the AG's office has been weak in this aspect too. The Penal Code has been recalled and held up over there rather than in Parliament.

    Also the governments representation at the Majlis also fails to prioritize these bills. Look at the speed with which bills for the creation of government institutions are fast-tracked.

    Before a successful lobbying effort can be launched, the public needs to be made aware of the importance of these bills. Such an awareness campaign needs financial backing and support from the media. A group of individuals and activists can hardly make an impact unless some heavyweights back them.


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