MALE’. The Criminal Court ruled today (20 February 2012) that the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim cannot be prosecuted on charges of defrauding the now-defunct Ministry of Atolls Development, in the purchase of 220 harbour lights worth Rf1.95 million (US$126,000) in 2004.
Minority opposition People Alliance (PA) Leader and MP Nazim, along with MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem (then-finance director at the ministry) and Abdullah Hameed, former Atolls Minister and half brother of Gayoom was charged in late 2009 on multiple counts of conspiracy to defraud the Atolls Ministry.
The prosecution began in late 2009, after police uncovered evidence that implicated Hameed, Saleem and Nazim in a number of fraudulent transactions.
Police maintained that money was channelled to Nazim who laundered cash through Namira Engineering and unregistered companies.
The first count focused on charges that Nazim used equipments and employees of Namira Engineering while he was the company’s Managing Director to submit bids in the name of two companies called Tech Media Service Pvt Ltd and Standard Electric Works Pvt Ltd to provide 220 harbour lights to the Atolls Ministry without the company’s prior knowledge in 2004.
Further, the prosecutors presented employees of Namira as key witnesses to prove they were acting on Nazim’s orders.
Even though the witnesses told the court that they had prepared the bid estimates on Nazim’s order, the judge concluded that it did not mean Nazim had ordered them to prepare the bids fraudulently.
Nazim is also facing other counts of fraud for setting up four paper companies to win a bid worth US$110,000 to provide 15,000 national flags for the former atolls ministry in 2003.
Prosecutors relied on the audit report, which stated that the four companies which submitted the bid to the project were connected to Nazim’s Namira Company.
According to the report, Malegam Tailors, the company which won the bid, show that it shared the same phone number as Namira. Fast tailors, another company that submitted the bid had a different phone number but the number was registered under Namira.