Maldives Criminal Court found local law enforcement authority was in breach when it had acquired the bank statements of the infamous local rapper Ismail Ifham Mohamed, better known locally as "Pest."
The rapper is charged with possession of illicit narcotic substances.
In February 2021, the rapper along with his acquaintances were arrested by Maldives Police Service in suspicion of possession of narcotic substances. During a previous trial hearing, the rapper's defense had argued police breached regulations in acquiring his bank statements.
Criminal Court on Thursday, August 4, concluded that though Police Service acquired bank statements of the rapper and others in accordance to Maldives Drugs Act, the authority did not have the legal mandate of doing so.
Moreover, Banking Act did not provide legal authority to Police on acquiring bank statements or other sensitive documents for said criminal investigations. Police had also failed to reveal how they acquired the documents.
Meanwhile, Police claims they acquired the statements in accordance with Section 72 of Maldives Criminal Procedure Act, via a letter. Though the authority claimed acquiring the documents via an official letter, the said letter did not contain any particulars requesting the bank to release the rapper's bank statements.
General regulations also dictate that bank will issue statements for criminal investigations through an official bank letter, which however, the authority had failed to produce as evidence during the trial.
Although Banking Act grants authority to Maldives Police Service and Prosecutor General's Office to certain information during criminal investigations, the authorities however cannot acquire bank statements or account transactions without a court warrant.
Criminal Court during the recent trial had thus ruled the bank statements inadmissible as evidence.
The rapper is still in remand, though he was earlier released for medical attention after which he was confined once more.