- Diamonds Are Forever
By Faraz Shauketaly
The UNP Member/Organiser from Colombo Central, Mohammed Mahroof, is at the centre of a controversial transaction amounting to Rs. 13 million.
Bullion Exchange, the up-market gold and diamond jewellers run by the Wahab family, had closed a transaction with Mahroof and his family, amounting to Rs. 13 million. Mahroof is said to have made two visits to the store. In the first instance he had chosen two sets of exquisite diamonds set in gold. He had subsequently returned with members of his family and taken away four sets of diamonds which consisted of necklaces, earrings and bracelets saying he would choose one and return three. The deal done, the order of diamond jewellery was handed over to the prominent businessman cum politician who proffered cheques for approximately Rs. 13.7 million.
The cheques subsequently were not realised and members of the Wahab family were up in arms. Some took their displeasure to a highly connected former UNP member who volunteered to take them to the highest in the land whilst others were enlisting the assistance of a former UNP cabinet minister who was later a minister in President Rajapaksa’s first cabinet, to negotiate a settlement or for the return of the goods.
Ajmal Wahab, the Managing Director of Bullion Exchange said, “that the matter was private.” Wahab however relented when reminded that apparently a complaint had been made to none other than the Criminal Investigations Department. Wahab then said, “there is a settlement being negotiated,” and that he hoped “that would be the end of the matter.”
Mahroof’s mobile telephone meanwhile was switched off and messages left at his residence elicited no response at the time of going to press.