Reeko Moosa calls on Criminal Court to expedite corruption cases

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik has met with Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed and urged him to conclude an ongoing corruption suit against Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim.

Moosa said that the suits had been sitting in the court for almost three years but none of them had yet been concluded, which he said was a concern as cases against particular people took longer than others.

Nazim is facing multiple counts of conspiracy to defraud the former Atolls Ministry. The fraudulent purchases of harbour lights, national flags and mosque sound systems were first flagged in an audit report released in early 2009. During the hearings, police exhibited numerous quotations, agreements, tender documents, receipts, bank statements and forged cheques suggesting that Nazim received over US$400,000 in the alleged scam.

The Criminal Court in August refused to allow journalists to observe a hearing in Nazim’s ongoing corruption trial, in a move condemned by the Maldives Media Council (MMC).

Speaking to the press after yesterday’s meeting, Moosa said that his motivation was to urge Judge Abdulla Mohamed to expedite cases going on in the Criminal Court.

Moosa told the press that Judge Abdulla Mohamed told him that out of all the cases currently against Nazim, one of them will be concluded in a month at the most, according to MDP Official website.

Last Thursday Moosa and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ali Azim went to the Criminal Court and met with the Chief Judge regarding the same matter, a series of meetings that Moosa said would continue.

Local media today reported that Moosa and Azim went to the court to meet the Chief Judge but he was on vacation, and another Judge met with them instead.

Newspaper Haveeru reported Moosa as telling the press that the court had accused him of obstructing its duty.

The Criminal Court recently concluded a case against Moosa, a corruption case against Indpendent MP Abdul Hameed, and a case against MP Azim.

On March 2010, State Prosecutor Abdullah Rabiu said Nazim was managing Director of Namira Engineering and Trading Pvt Ltd when the company’s equipment and staff were used to create fake letterheads and submit proposals on behalf of unregistered companies.

One of the paper companies won a bid worth US$110,000 to provide 15,000 national flags for the former atolls ministry.

If found guilty, the MP for Meemu Atoll Dhiggaru and former vice-president of the opposition People’s Alliance will be ordered to pay Rf1.4 million (US$108,900) to the state and sentenced to between one to six years of imprisonment.

August 2009, Chief Inspector Ismail Atheef said police had uncovered evidence that implicated former Atolls Minister Abdullah Hameed, Eydhafushi MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem, former director of finance at the ministry, and Nazim in fraudulent transactions worth over US$260,000 (Mrf 3,446,950).

A hard disk seized during a raid of Nazim’s office in May allegedly contained copies of forged documents and bogus letter heads.

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, brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, 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.