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Police uncover large scale scam involving over 100 vehicles

Mariyath Mohamed
13 June 2024, MVT 16:10
Press conference held by Police today.-- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru
Mariyath Mohamed
13 June 2024, MVT 16:10

In an investigation into the theft of a car belonging to Maldives Airports Company Limited's Managing Director, Police have uncovered a large scale scam being conducted from within the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.

As of now, Police have arrested two persons in relation to the scam. These are Ahmed Haisham, 42 years, of Maafannu Seeni Asurumaage, who also happens to be an employee of MACL, and Ahmed Nizam, 43 years, of Maafannu Modern.

In a press conference held today, Superintendent of Police Mohamed Daud said that the actual depth of this scam is yet to be uncovered. He said that while 100 vehicles have been registered under the same name, investigations so far show that the vehicles have been altered to the point where its origin is undetectable.

Daud said that this scam had been uncovered while conducting an investigation into the theft of a van in MACL last April. The investigation showed that an employee of MACL had been involved in the theft.

He said that after the van had been stolen, its license plate had been changed and efforts had been made to disguise the vehicle. This had been done by stealing the vehicle and driving it from the airport to Hulhumale' on the road west of the airport, and near the Orange building in Hulhumale'.

It was then brought to Male' and parked in Iraanuge in Henveiru ward.

Superintendent of Police Daud speaks in today's press conference.-- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru

Daud said that investigations had led the police to a garage in the ground floor of Iraanuge, where they located the vehicle. In the subsequent search of the garage, another vehicle, one that had been stolen from Immigration about a month prior to the other theft, was also discovered in the premises.

"In this theft, [the perpetrators] have attempted to conceal the origin of these vehicles, and have scratched out the engine numbers and chassis numbers of large four wheeled vehicles and were widely conducting this business in Male'," Daud said.

Police said that Nizam was the lessee of the garage where the vehicles were discovered. A large number of vehicles had been registered in his name. This includes 86 four wheeled vehicles, with Nizam's wife having 42 of these registered under her name, and the rest under Nizam's.

Daud said that all 100 vehicles were registered in the Male' area. Their investigations went on to reveal that some of these registrations had been sourced from the Transport Ministry and dated for coming years. Daud said that the Transport Ministry had issued vehicle registrations dated in 2025, 2026 and 2027.

Daud said that Nizam also conducts the business of importing vehicles into the Maldives, so some of the vehicles under his name would include legitimate registrations as well.

"If out of 100 vehicles, 86 four wheeled vehicles are to be registered in the Male' area, then they will have to source 86 garage letters. How did they source that? The other biggest concern is some of these registries are dated in years we are yet to see, such as 2025 and 2027. This is a big fraud," Daud said.

Daud said that this scam had been conducted with much planning, and with the aid of Nizam's close connections from within the Transport Ministry. Along with the investigation in to the initial theft, Daud said police are now also working to identify those within the Transport Ministry who colluded in this scam.

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