The state, on Monday, sought 11 years of imprisonment for former Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Abdulla Ziyath.
This request was made after Ziyath confessed to 32 charges of corruption regarding the MMPRC embezzlement scandal in Criminal Court under a plea bargain with the government.
Total 32 charges were levied against the former MMPRC head over his involvement in leasing islands and lagoons via the corporation and embezzling the funds acquired through the deals.
Ziyath alone is accused of being involved in the embezzlement of USD 50.7 million (MVR 781 million) of the total potential revenue loss of the graft, which stands at MVR 4 billion.
During the hearing that kicked off Monday morning, Ziyath accepted all the charges against him one by one as it was read aloud by the judge.
He further went on to admit that he collected the cheques for the acquisition costs of the islands and lagoons leased through MMPRC and handed them over to former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, or whoever Adeeb requested the cheques be handed over to, instead of completing due process through the company.
However, Ziyath claimed that he did not receive any of the funds from the cheques he handed over.
As per the former MMPRC head, he was delivering the cheques as asked, because Adeeb had asserted that the funds were being spent on the state.
After his confession, Ziyath told the court that he was accepting all charges of his own volition, devoid of any influence.
Therefore, the court decided that Ziyath was guilty of all the charges.
The state requested an 11-year prison sentence for Ziyath after increasing his punishment based on the amount of funds he embezzled, and reducing it based on his cooperation to the MMPRC investigation.
The Penal Code also states that the most serious crime would receive the longest possible sentence, in case of sentencing a convict over more than one charge, and the penalties for the remaining crimes will be reduced in a particular order.
As per Article 1006 of the Penal Code, Ziyath’s 12th charge carries a one day sentence and he will not receive any punishment for the 20 charges following it.
Since Ziyath’s legal team made no objections to the proposed sentence, Judge Ali Adam concluded the hearings for the case and scheduled the verdict for upcoming Sunday.
In addition to the prison sentence, the state also declared that a separate set of charges will be levied against Ziyath to recover the state funds siphoned off in the MMPRC graft.
Ziyath is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence after being convicted of a corruption charge in 2016.
Prior to this, ex-VP Adeeb also accepted all the charges against him under a confessional agreement with the state. The Criminal Court sentenced Adeeb to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of MVR 2 million.