Bassam’s passport withheld in FAM corruption case

President of Football Association of Maldives (FAM) Bassam Jaleel speaks at a press conference. (Sun Photo/Ahmed Saeed)

The passport of Bassam Adeel Jaleel, the president of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM), who is the prime suspect in the corruption investigation launched against the association, has been withheld.

Prosecutor General’s Office (PG Office) confirmed to Sun that Bassam’s passport has been withheld.

It had been Maldives Police Service which requested a court order to withhold his passport.

At a press conference last Thursday, Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem identified Bassam as the prime suspect in the corruption investigation launched against FAM at the instructions of PG Office that saw evidence collected from both the police and the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA).

The police had raided the FAM House at PGO’s instructions on October 23, during which investigators were seen seizing dozens of box files.

Shameem said FAM’s top officials are suspected of misappropriating the funds it received from the international governing body of association football, FIFA.

He noted that investigators were able to collect key evidence in such financial crime investigations, committed through bank cards. He said that the suspects had used their bank cards for payments during trips, making the hotels and the shopping malls they visited known.

Shameem added that the authorities need some additional evidence before they can file formal charges, which they expect to find in the coming days.

Bassam previously stated he would make a comment once the police finish their investigation.

Many football officials have claimed cases of corruption within FAM, with the association's president Bassam spearheading these efforts. The association is also knee-deep in debt.

The impact of FAM's failure to regularly host league competitions on the national football team is clearly evident. After hailing as the second-strongest team in South Asia, they are now struggling to produce results against weaker teams such as Nepal and Bangladesh.

The association has not been able to pay its employees on a regular basis either. Additionally, they are also in hot water with FIFA over the non-payment of salaries to former national team technical staff.