Leaked report identifies investigative failures in acquital of drug kingpin

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.

“Weak points”

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.

Read full report (in Dhivehi)


One of ‘top six’ drug dealers found innocent by criminal court

The Criminal Court has ruled that Adam Naseer of H. Reendhooge is innocent of dealing drugs, despite being labelled by the government as one of the country’s ‘top six’ drug dealers and a police investigation lasting nearly a year.

Police searched Naseer’s home in Addu Atoll on 30 June 2009, where they found over Rf6 million (US$461,500) in cash and a tin containing drugs outside his house.

He was later arrested in early July in Addu Atoll, but “he wasn’t in prison the whole time,” explained President’s Office Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair. “On several occasions the court has delayed his imprisonment until the hearing.”

Naseer’s arrest last year was a big break for the Prosecutor General’s office and the police, who had been leading an investigation and following Naseer for months.

Naseer had also been arrested in 2007 on drug dealing counts and later on counts of bribery and giving false information to the police, but he was released due to lack of evidence.

In his verdict, Judge Abdul Baary Yousuf said there was not enough evidence to prove the money had come from dealing drugs. He added that the drugs could have been placed outside Naseer’s house by anyone and did not necessarily belong to him.

Zuhair said Naseer “is still considered to be a top drug dealer. He was caught red-handed.”

He added that although the executive and legislative branches have been reformed with the change in government, “the justice system is still going the way it was in Gayoom’s time” and “many of the judges are sympathisers of Gayoom.”

Ahmed Adam, program coordinator for Journey, an NGO with a mission to help addicts maintain their recovery and to raise public awareness on drug issues, said “these people shouldn’t be on the streets. If they’re not behind bars, what will happen?”

“The judge should ask where all this money came from,” added Adam.

Only one witness claimed the drugs belonged to Naseer. Under Shari’ah law, there needs to be at least two witnesses to prove a person guilty, annulling the witness’s testimony.

Deputy Prosecutor General Hussein Shameen said “he should not released, but… the court has acquitted him.”

Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizzu said he had no comment on Naseer’s release, but added that his office would “appeal [the case] to the High Court.”

Two of the ‘top six’ have now fled the country. police are still investigating the remaining three suspects.

President Nasheed has previously said that while the government knows the identities of the top six drug dealers, their arrests would appear politically motivated as they included political opponents.