The Edition


Maldives' jailed ex-deputy speaker 'escaped' on govt travel doc

Mohamed Visham
23 June 2016, MVT 13:55
Jailed former deputy speaker Ahmed Nazim. He has sought asylum from the UK.
Mohamed Visham
23 June 2016, MVT 13:55

Jailed former deputy speaker Ahmed Nazim traveled to the United Kingdom on an official travel document, Mihaaru has found.

Nazim is serving a 25-year prison sentence after he was found guilty last April of defrauding the state of MVR1.4 million (USD 91,400) by submitting bids on behalf of non-existent companies to supply 15,000 national flags to the now-defunct atolls ministry.

The government had sanctioned the former ruling party MP's travel to Singapore for medical treatment late last year. Maldives Correctional Service had extended Nazim's medical leave on two separate occasions but denied a third extension request in March ordering the MP to return to the Maldives within 48 hours.

However, the MP had traveled to UK from Singapore which had been confirmed by the then home minister Umar Naseer.

The government however, refused to comment on how Nazim was able to travel to the UK directly from Singapore on a temporary travel document.

Mihaaru understands that the document issued by the government had permitted Nazim to travel to both Singapore and the UK, which has been vehemently denied by the immigration department.

Immigration spokesperson reiterated the government's earlier stand by insisting that the document had only sanctioned Nazim's travel to Singapore.

The document cannot be used to travel to any other country, the spokesperson stressed.

"His [Nazim] passport is with us," spokesperson said.

Nazim meanwhile, has sought asylum from the UK government. It is believed that the UK government had fined the airline for allowing Nazim to travel without a valid passport.

UK government is yet to decide on the asylum request.

Government suspects a third country's involvement in Nazim's 'escape.'

Umar Naseer had earlier said the government was in discussion with the UK to extradite Nazim.

A correctional service official said Thursday that the search for Nazim was ongoing but did not divulge details.

Nazim joins several political rivals of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom who are currently living in exile in the UK including jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed.