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Ex-pres Yameen's trial commences, televised

21 July 2019, MVT 14:51
Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on route to attend his Criminal Court hearing. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED / MIHAARU
21 July 2019, MVT 14:51

Former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's preliminary trial proceedings commenced on Sunday at the Criminal Court.

Criminal Court's Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam presided over the case.

Yameen's lawyer Abdulla Shiyaz presented arguments in favour of the former head of state.

Shiyaz argued that testimonials by former vice-president Ahmed Adeeb and Maldives Marketing Public Corporation (MMPRC)'s then managing director Abdulla Ziyath are unusable against Yameen and that both individuals have been found guilty of criminal crimes.

Additionally, he highlighted that Yameen's charges only state his alleged crime, exempt with details.

In response, state's Senior Presector Aminath Mohamed said that the crimes were defined in the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act (10/2014).

The state also maintains that Yameen, upon accepting to transfer USD 1 million into a joint escrow account, had deceivingly transferred the funds through a source other than the funds deposited into his Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) account.

Yameen's lawyer Adam Asif responded by claiming that Yameen was exempt from any charges and that the charges were unclearly defined.

Prosecutors state that the charges were filed in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code

Moreover, Judge Hailam probed state prosecutors over the defence's claims that charges were incomplete.

While Yameen's representatives claim that he was unaware of the funds deposited into the account being flagged, Judge Hailam questioned whether any individual could be proven guilty if made aware of criminal activities prior to charges being filed against them.

Furthermore, the court rejected the five points brought forward as Yameen's defence. The court also rejected the state's request for two witnesses, as they were presented following the charges.

The hearing concluded with a second hearing scheduled for early August, after awarding Yameen the opportunity to present witnesses.

Despite the trials of the coup conspirators of November 3, 1988, being broadcast live via radio, Yameen's case marks the first instance of a televised court trial in Maldives.

Yameen is charged with attempting to launder and derive benefits from USD 1 million deposited into his bank account by SOF, the private company which syphoned most of the state funds embezzled in the corruption scandal of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

The MVR 1.3 billion graft was the largest recorded case of corruption in Maldives.

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