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Former UNICEF consultant spends night in custody

Arrested at the airport, a night spent behind bars and hauled before the courts. A top international academic ends up on the wrong side of Cayman law.

Doctor Fuambai Ahmadu is a former leading consultant with UNICEF and is regarded as one of the world’s experts on African female initiation rituals.
But after a row over an unpaid hotel bill, she found herself locked up.

What should have been a pleasant week long stay in Cayman to watch her son play football, turned into a nightmare.

“Very over the top. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it,” said Dr. Ahmadu.

“Most of the people I have spoken to here don’t get it and think this was completely frivolous.”

Dr. Ahmadu booked her stay using the website Air BnB, ending up at a guest house in West Bay. Three days in, and she said she was asked to pay the bill in full, in cash. She refused and was shown the door.

She added, “They terminated the contract. As far as I was concerned I was contracted to stay from Monday 9 May to Friday.”

On Saturday (14 May), as she waited at the airport to board a plane back to the US, she was arrested, taken to the custody suites for the night and brought to court Tuesday (17 May).

“Complete shocker. And its been so surreal for me,” added Dr. Ahmadu.

“I still haven’t digested everything that has happened.”

She says she is considering legal action over the guest house bill and inconvenience suffered because of her arrest and subsequent charge.

Guest houses have come under closer scrutiny from government.  People listing their places on Air BnB and other services are warned they must hold a valid hotel licence.
Government says it’s, in part, to protect travelers from unexpected billing disputes.

Cayman 27 contacted the RCIPS for comment, they told us after she was arrested she was offered the chance to pay, but refused.

The spokeswoman added, “There were obviously sufficient grounds to arrest and ultimately charge in this matter.”

Cayman 27’s Paul Kennedy has more.

About the author

Paul Kennedy

Paul Kennedy

Paul has worked for more than 20 years for regional and national newspapers in the UK covering some of the world’s biggest stories.

A multi-award winning journalist, Paul’s dream story is to find a dog that can play the piano. In the meantime he covers general news, produces, and hosts a weekly show about English football.

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