Criminal Court rescheduled the verdict hearing for former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's money laundering trial for November 17.
The initial verdict hearing, which was slated for November 5, was cancelled after Judicial Service Commission (JSC) suspended the Chief Judge of the lower court, Ahmed Hailam, earlier that same day.
JSC took action against Hailam over a controversial illustration the judge shared in a Viber group chat of the Criminal Court on Victory Day. The image depicted President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and former president and current Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed in chains, along with the orchestrators of the November 2, 1988 coup.
Following the suspension, Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain was tasked with leading the Criminal Court. According to local media, Yameen's verdict hearing was rescheduled by the chief judge's section.
In the case of the chief judge's suspension, the Criminal Procedure Code grants the acting chief judge the authority to decide on how to proceed with trials and hearings.
The state charged former President Yameen with money laundering over a transaction of USD 1 million made to his account in Maldives Islamic Bank, by SOF Pvt Ltd. SOF is accused of being involved in the embezzlement of MVR 3.3 billion from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
While Yameen had agreed to transfer the USD 1 million to a joint escrow account of Bank of Maldives, which was opened with Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), it later surfaced that the money Yameen transferred to the account was not the USD 1 million he received from SOF. The funds from SOF were instead deposited in a general investment account at MIB.
The former president maintained his innocence throughout the trial.