Supreme Court quashes decision lifting travel ban on Ammaty

SeaLife Global’s Managing Director Ahmed Moosa Mohamed (Ammaty).

Supreme Court, on Sunday, has quashed the lower court’s decision to temporarily lift the travel ban on SeaLife Global’s managing director Ahmed Moosa Mohamed (Ammaty) – who is on trial for defrauding over 200 tenants out of millions in booking fees for a planned apartment complex in suburban Hulhumale’.

The Criminal Court had lifted the travel ban on Ammaty on December 6, after he requested permission to travel overseas to undergo a spinal surgery. 

The state appealed the decision with the High Court – seeking an injunction to suspend his passport or travel document.

High Court issued an injunction to suspend Ammaty’s passport until the court made a decision in the case on December 18th. However, on December 27th, the court ultimately decided to uphold the Criminal Court’s decision.

Supreme Court quashed the decision on Sunday by the unanimous consensus of the three justices who presided over case; Justice Aisha Shujoon, Justice Mahaz Ali Zahir and Justice Husnu Al Suood.

The justices said when the travel ban was lifted, there was a chance of Ammaty fleeing in light of his earlier actions, adding that when the lower court lifted the ban, they failed to reference the likelihood of this chance.

SeaLife announced its 3,000-apartment housing project, the SeaLife Complex in Hulhumale’, back in 2015.

280 tenants paid a booking fee of MVR 50,000 (some more than MVR 50,000). But the SeaLife Complex was never built.

The cumulative total of the booking fees collected by SeaLife is estimated to be upwards of MVR 14 million.

Housing Development Corporation later intervened to reimburse the tenants who submitted documents to the corporation, and they were given priority in the sale of Vinares apartments.

Ammaty, who had an Interpol red notice out for his capture since 2019, was arrested in neighboring Sri Lanka in February, 2021.

Ammaty, who has been pressed with 42 charges of fraud and embezzlement, faces 65 years in prison if the charges are proven against him in court. He has denied the charges against him.