A report compiled by the Presidential Commission (PC) following an inquiry into the controversial acquittal of alleged drug kingpin Adam Naseer in February 2010 has been leaked online, suggesting that shortcomings in the police investigation and weak evidence were responsible for failure to convict one of the “top six drug lords” identified by police.
According to the report, the inquiry into the police investigation and subsequent prosecution was requested by President Mohamed Nasheed in March 2010.
Police were unable to find “any evidence to prove at court that Adam Naseer bought and sold drugs,” the report concludes.
It further states that there was “reason to suspect negligence or a plan” behind the failure to gather strong evidence.
The PC report identifies as “weak points” discrepancies in the statements provided by the police investigation team regarding the amount of drugs seized in the operation, revealing that police did not take the suspect’s fingerprint, dust the evidence for fingerprints or search Naseer for “any sign of drugs on him.”
“Apart from the statement of the police agent, Naseer’s friend [Ahmed] Ramzee, there was no other evidence to prove that the can [of narcotics] belonged to him,” reads ‘weak point’ number six. “And while police were certain for many hours that Naseer had the can, he was not caught red-handed.”
It adds that due to the hasty decision to arrest Naseer and search his residence before someone arrived to collect the can, police lost the opportunity to nab the suspect’s associates.
Among the other findings, the report notes that police trailed the suspect for six months prior to his arrest after intelligence sources learned that Naseer was going to recover drugs buried in an agriculture field he owned in Seenu Hithadhoo.
In addition to Rf5 million (US$389,100) in cash, police recovered eight empty rubber packets with trace amounts of narcotics and a plastic can with drugs from his residence.
However police were unable to uncover any details of Naseer’s dealings during the six-month investigation, such as his sources and customers.
The report notes that the inquiry was based on a summary report available from the Criminal Court website after the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) denied the commission’s request for the court report.
“The Prosecutor General’s Office informed the commission in writing that the [PG] office could provide any assistance saying that [investigating] such cases was against the commission’s mandate,” it reads.
The report recommends “strengthening investigative capability,” suggesting that police should not undertake such operations without “modern facilities” and officers with the skill and training to employ them.
Moreover, the report notes that all three investigative teams were led by Superintendent Mohamed Jinah, head of the Drug Enforcement Department (DED), recommending separating the teams to allow for monitoring of progress.
The report further advises instituting safeguards against potential corruption inside the DED and guarding against possible attempts to compromise high stakes investigations.
Among the irregularities noted in the report, the commission was told by the police agent that he was not remunerated while Superintendent Jinah insisted otherwise.