MPs and Police respond to intel chiefs’ Nasheed assassination attempt allegations

Former Head of Intelligence Chief Superintendent ‘MC’ Mohamed Hameed has stated in his January 9 testimony to the parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee that the police intelligence department received information about two separate assassination plans against former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Hameed further alleged that MP ‘RedWave’ Ahmed Saleem had stored a “poisonous chemical” in his company warehouse in 2011 and that the intelligence department learned of plans to use this deadly chemical to assassinate the then president.

Speaking in the same committee, former military intelligence head Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam also claimed to have received information about an assassination attempt planned to have been carried out during an MNDF live-fire event.

Former Minister of Human Rights of the current administration Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed has also spoken in December 2012 of assassination plans made against Nasheed by politicians she had then referred to as X and Y. She has since revealed X to be Deputy Speaker of Parliament People’s Alliance (PA) MP Ahmed Nazim and Y to be independent MP Mohamed Nasheed.

Following the public release of these allegations, MP Nasheed, MP Saleem and the police institution have responded denying the allegations.

Not involved in any assassination plans: MP Nasheed

Independent MP Nasheed has published an article on his personal blog denying involvement in any assassination plans.

Nasheed wrote that he had never spoken with former Gender Minister Dhiyana of any plans to assassinate Nasheed.

Questioning whether Dhiyana had indeed stated that MP Nasheed had spoken to her of involvement in orchestrating a coup d’etat to topple the former administration, he denied having ever brought up such a subject with her. He furthermore stated that he did not believe Dhiyana would have made such a statement.

Dhiyana’s account, released as a booklet titled “Silent Enquiry: A Personal Memoir on the issue of the Transfer of Powers on the 7th of February 2012” does not accuse person “Y”, later identified as MP Nasheed, of having partaken in assassination plans.

It however stated that through conversation with MP Nasheed she had learnt that he had pledged support to then Vice President, current President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, while he had refused the offer of the post of Vice President “should Waheed ascend to power in the coming week.”

“A week before the now disputed resignation of President Nasheed, his Vice President had invited ‘Y’ to his residence for dinner. After dinner, when he was about to leave, when he was bending over to put on his shoes, the Vice President had bent over and whispered into his ears that things would be difficult in the coming week and whether ‘Y’ would help him. ‘Y’, not suspecting that anything out of the ordinary would happen in the coming week had assured the Vice President that he would indeed help him,” Dhiyana wrote.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim has so far not responded publicly to the allegations made against him.

Will take the matter to court: MP Saleem

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP ‘RedWave’ Ahmed Saleem released a statement on Monday claiming the public release of statements given by intelligence chiefs of police and the defence forces had caused losses worth millions to businesses in which he holds a stake.

In response to the allegations of his involvement in an assassination plan against Nasheed, Saleem stated that he intends to take legal action against a number of persons he perceives as being responsible for the loss caused to him.

Saleem stated that the parliament, MDP and individual persons were included in the entities against whom he would be filing cases in the Civil Court. He furthermore states his intention to lodge a complaint with police asking them to look into the “criminal activity of the committing of unlawful activities to destroy [his] business.”

Saleem denied ever having involvement in any plans to take the life of any person.

No records of assassination plans found: PC Riyaz

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz was reported in local media as saying that there were no records of investigations having been undertaken into any suspected assassination attempts against Nasheed.

Riyaz stated that police had looked into the matter after the former police intelligence head gave his testimony to the parliament.

“We found no records of such an assassination attempt, and no indication that any investigation had been carried out on the matter. As a norm, if such serious intelligence information had been received, an investigation would definitely be undertaken,” Riyaz is reported to have said.

Riyaz further stated that the police had now been instructed to look into the matter further and to determine why no official records had been lodged if such critical information had indeed been uncovered by the police.


MP “Redwave” Saleem and Ilyas Ibrahim sign with Gayoom’s PPM

Eydhafushi MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem and former minister Ilyas Ibrahim have signed for newly-formed Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), reports Sun Online.

Ilyas Ibrahim, brother-in-law of PPM figurehead former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and long-serving cabinet minister, was among the first to sign for the party, according to spokesperson MP Ahmed Mahlouf.

Saleem meanwhile resigned as leader of his Labour Party, stating that efforts within a larger opposition party would be more effective. People’s Alliance (PA) leader Abdulla Yameen has also joined the party in similar fashion.


Maldives customs reveal million rufiya heroin haul

The Maldives Customs Service has said it last month foiled a “major” attempt to smuggle Rf1 million worth of heroin int0 the country after 100 packets of the drug were found to have been swallowed by a Pakistani national.

Customs representative Mohamed Ibrahim told Minivan News today that 100 packets of “high-grade” heroin,  a combined total weight of 797 grammes, were found to have been swallowed by a 23 year-old male from Pakistan when he had arrived at Male’ International Airport on June 25. Police are now said to be investigating the case, which is said to remain at an early stage.

The seizure come as the government pledges to crackdown on the sale, packing and distribution of hard drugs in the country.

In committing to this crackdown, Mohamed Ibrahim said the challenge of detecting drug packages that have been swallowed by smugglers was nothing new for customs and did not require authorities to review their screening processes in the future. The customs spokesperson claimed it had made similar “significant seizures” in the past.

However, Ibrahim added that the financial value of drugs found during the seizure was particularly significant.
“[The seizure] was worth quite a lot. Heroin like this is very expensive when you compare it to cannabis leaf or hash oil,” he said.

Just last month, the government has vowed to crackdown further upon significant players within the country’s hard drugs trade.  Police announced on June 24 that they had arrested an individual suspected of being one of the country’s most high-profile drug kingpins following months of investigation.

About 896 grammes of drugs were said to have been discovered inside the suspect’s apartment during its investigation. The apartment, which was rented in a building belonging to MP ‘Redwave’ Ahmed Saleem, contained a number of tools that could be used to pack drugs, while powdered narcotics were also found, according to police. Saleem was not himself linked to the drug operation.

Speaking following the police raid last month, President Mohamed Nasheed promised a more compassionate approach would be adopted for dealing with the country’s addict population. However, he additionally pledged to directly target any individuals profiting from the trade of substances like heroin, even if it led back to friends or family.

“We can seize the hard drugs that enter the country. We can find out how it enters, too. And as I envision it we can stop [the trafficking]. While undertaking these efforts, it is now becoming very much certain to me…for example, what happened the other day [the raid] was the sort of thing I find quite shocking,” he said. “800 packets of heroin a night were getting sealed in the house of an honourable member of parliament. 800 packets of heroin were being distributed in the ground floor of this house. True, there might be no connection between the MP and his house to the people doing [the drug dealing]. But what I know is, in my home, in my own home…the laws of the country definitely say this. That I should know what happens in my own home, under my own shelter.”


President asks for compassion towards heroin addicts

Translated extract of President Mohamed Nasheed’s speech on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

“Two or three days ago, police seized a large amount of hard drugs; heroin or brown sugar. It happened, as you know, while 800 packets were being sealed in a house called Henveiru Fashan. Today and tomorrow, a lot of young people will become sick.

These 800 packets, according to our information, were the drugs meant to be used by at least 50 percent of hard drug users in Male’. What we are trying to do with the police operation is seize these drugs. [But] when the drugs are seized, the youth addicted to these hard drugs leave their normal state. When that happens, they don’t have any sense of the wrong they do; they don’t have any sense, any inkling or knowledge of anything they do.

I am glad today and pleased by the fact that they can call the 1410 number. I would say that a lot of youngsters should keep the 1410 in mind. […] I urge very strongly that everyone, all who use drugs, keep the 1410 in your memory, in your recollection, at all times.

We can seize the hard drugs that enter the country. We can find out how it enters, too. And as I envision it we can stop [the trafficking]. While undertaking these efforts, it is now becoming very much certain to me…for example, what happened the other day was the sort of thing I find quite shocking. 800 packets of heroin a night were getting sealed in the house of an honourable member of parliament. 800 packets of heroin were being distributed in the ground floor of this house. True, there might be no connection between the MP and his house to the people doing [the drug dealing]. But what I know is, in my home, in my own home…the laws of the country definitely say this. That I should know what happens in my own home, under my own shelter.

What the government will continue investigating now will be the money transactions. And to find out what A.J Enterprises is and who owns that enterprise; whether it was through this enterprise that all that money was transferred out of the country. What I am trying to reveal is that even if it turns out that the [trail] ends with my own parents I will not back down in the least. Whether it’s the People’s Majlis, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, any Majlis – God willing we will not leave a single stone unturned to discover who is involved in this.

Using hard drugs, running the existing network, involves large sums of money. The profit of Henveiru Fashan was at least Rf160,000. That is the profit of only one night. We do not doubt any more that on a good night Rf200,000 will be made as profit. A hardware store makes a profit of Rf150,000 a night. A normal general store, a big, big store in Male’ – the profit of one of those big stores would not reach Rf100,000. The business profit in this is not a truth that we will let slide from our minds.

It is not only drug dealing that occurs in this business. There are a number of other illegal businesses related to it. Now we are especially noting the business of selling humans from one country to another.  That is, bringing workers into the country illegally in the name of labour as well as bringing them to transit here before being sent to other countries – this has become big business in the Maldives.

The drug business is widespread in the whole international community. It is not just the Maldives that was shocked. We do get shocked when we get this kind of information; we would get shocked when we get it suddenly. It is not just the Maldives that is shocked by this. I have come here today after finding out how shocked the whole region is because of this. [We know] how many kilos we have found and that it is a small amount. With this network in the entire [South Asian] region and reaching the Middle East, it is no small shock. I would think all of us are very shocked.

There are truths we know while we attempt to stop this network and the trafficking of hard drugs into the country. That is the fact that we have to show compassion to the youth at this time. When we don’t provide care for them, they take off with the box cutter and steal money from the mother’s drawers. [They] need it. They need to use. They must use. We have to come to know and understand this. We shouldn’t try talking about this politically or with the intention of hiding behind a nice veil, without using the real terms and words. I won’t do it. I will talk about how thing stand from A to Z. That is, regardless of whatever anyone says about me – the bitterness involved in this, how much our society has been destroyed by this, the obstacles it places on our country’s development, how we cannot achieve our desired ‘Other Maldives’ because of this will become very much clear.

Closing the doors to hard drugs is a policy of this government, a pledge of this government. God willing, this government will do it. The government will find those who smuggle hard drugs into the country. They will be detained. We will ask the Prosecutor General to take them to trial. That is the extent of what the government can do. We are not trying to meddle with trials illegally even now. However, we will [send] all the cases with all the evidence to the Prosecutor General’s Office – that is along with everyone else involved in this business, this network. Among them include using cycles, cars and lorries; providing places for packing; private companies facilitating business transactions – no one should be doing any of this. God willing, this government will give those involved the just punishment.

A detox centre was opened in Male’ last year. And a detox centre was opened last year in Addu Atoll Meedhoo. This detox centre is not a rehabilitation centre. So when you go there and nothing but [detoxification] comes of it, don’t complain about that. The place is intended for a particular purpose. That is what the place can do. Additionally, God willing we will be able to open a new detox centre for women I think today or tomorrow. Helping girls with this is absolutely necessary.

It has become very clear to us that the gang violence in the country is also very much tied to drugs. I think the connection between Red Light City and their affiliated gangs to this business was seen beyond doubt the other day [at the police briefing]. In the past, “our peaceful protest was disrupted by this gang, the gang leader was this person, that person calls such and such a politician” – we heard of this a lot. However, we did not go into it back then. And we haven’t gone into it after taking over government even up to this day.

Based on the evidence gathered, the government is only requesting the Prosecutor General to take the case to trial. From judges we request that they deliver a verdict based on what was said and the evidence presented. We don’t ask for more than that from anyone. We will not ask for more.

Our goal is to assure for our youth a better, more prosperous, much happier tomorrow than today. My prayer is for us the blessings of both worlds.