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Hailam will be questioned over evidence collected: Police

Shahudha Mohamed
23 June 2020, MVT 16:21
Former Chief Judge of Criminal Court Ahmed Hailam. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
23 June 2020, MVT 16:21

Maldives Police Service (MPS) revealed additional details on Monday, regarding the summons issued to former Chief Judge of Criminal Court Ahmed Hailam.

Police revealed the questioning would be regarding the evidence investigating authorities have thus far collected.

According to the police, Hailam will be questioned on money laundering allegations over a transaction of MVR 200,000 that took place on May 19, 2019. The deposit was flagged by the independent agency, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The former judge is ordered to present himself at the Police Headquarters by 2000 hrs on Tuesday.

In response to the allegations, Hailam tweeted that the money was acquired from former parliamentarian Alhan Fahmy, adding that it was a loan meant for one of Hailam's acquaintances.

Hailam was designated the presiding judge for the state's money laundering case against former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, when Judicial Service Commission (JSC) suspended him over forwarding a controversial image to the court's Viber group.

Sent on the occasion of Martyr's Day, the picture depicted President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and former President Mohamed Nasheed, along with the orchestrators of the November 3, 1988 coup, in chains.

Hailam submitted his resignation on December 2, 2019, while under suspension, attributing his decision to politicians allegedly exerting influence over judges.

Since then, Hailam has been vocal in questioning and criticising the judicial system on social media. He has bluntly expressed disappointment over politicians continuing to influence the judiciary despite President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's pledge for judicial reform

Some have alleged that Hailam was targeted and summoned by the police for speaking out against such issues.

Answering questions posed by local media Mihaaru, Commissioner of Police (CP) Mohamed Hameed stated that investigations no longer target particular individuals, following recent steps taken to reform the institution.

Under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act, Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) is responsible for reporting any questionable transactions amongst individuals appointed for different positions in the state.

"We have to investigate cases reported by them. If MVR 200,000 was suddenly transferred to my account while I was in this position, that would be investigated as well. MMA will send us the Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) and we will follow up on those reports", CP Hameed explained.

He further stated that police conducted these investigations as part of their mandated responsibilities, adding that summoning Hailam or any other suspect for questioning, does not equate to criminalising them.

Moreover, CP Hameed stated that police investigations are now based on evidence and no one is questioned as soon as a case is filed against them.

"At a certain point of the investigation, when they need to be questioned, we will bring them in", he said.

Previously, Judicial Service Commission (JSC) investigated the matter as well, having been brought to their attention by authorities last November.

Referring to the judicial watchdog's inquiry, Alhan confirmed that funds were transferred from his account into Hailam's, adding that the two are long-term, close associates.