The High Court upheld the lower court’s prison sentence of 25 years for a man who embezzled MVR 1.5 million from Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC).
The Criminal Court had sentenced Ahmed Zameen of Addu atoll Maradhoo island to 25 years in prison last year for his embezzlement of MVR 1.5 million from MNBC with the promise of finding USD 100,000 for the corporation in September 2011. The court had also ordered Zameen to compensate MNBC for the embezzled money.
Zameen had appealed his case at the High Court which subsequently upheld the lower court’s verdict last Wednesday. The three High Court judges concurred that the case fulfilled all the points of embezzlement and there was no leeway to alter the lower court’s sentence.
Zameen’s defence stated that he had entrusted the money from MNBC to an Italian man in exchange for US Dollars, but his contact had disappeared after leaving the Maldives.
However, the verdict stated that Zameen had failed to provide any information sans the Italian’s name and that Zameen had made no mention of him during the investigation. Hence, Zameen’s actions were circumstantial evidences against him.
As the amount of money embezzled was upwards of MVR 10,000, the previous penal code stipulates a prison sentence of 130 years. However, the court had lowered his sentence to 25 years, which is the maximum sentence that can be ruled for a single crime.
MNBC was founded by former president Mohamed Nasheed to operate state media.