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Supreme Court concludes appeal hearings over Yameen's unfreezed assets

Ahmed Aiham
21 September 2020, MVT 18:21
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. PHOTO/PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Ahmed Aiham
21 September 2020, MVT 18:21

The Supreme Court, on Monday, concluded the appeal trial of the High Court verdict to unfreeze jailed former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's bank accounts.

Following Monday's final hearing, the judges bench announced that a verdict hearing would be held if no further clarification is warranted.

In March, last year, the High Court rejected the Criminal Court's order and released the ex-President's accounts, on the grounds that authorities failed to follow the Criminal Procedure Code.

Echoing a previous query by presiding Judge Husnu-al Suood, the apex court had asked Maldives Police Service why the entirety of Yameen's assets were frozen, in a case which concerns only USD 1 million.

In response, Maldives Police Service's Chief Station Inspector Hussain Lirar, said a total of MVR 100 million was flagged.

However, the bench decided to dismiss the claim as Police did not formally submit the matter to court, other than attaching bank statements indicating the presence of funds.

The former president also fired back, stating that authorities need not be concerned over the funds, adding that the USD 1 million in question was stored in an escrow account jointly held by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

Yameen further noted that Police did not previously indicate whether the funds were in question, claiming that Yameen's frozen assets were unrelated to the matter.

Yameen also asserted that storing personal funds was not a crime, noting that Police must refrain from assuming an individual's sole source of income was a monthly salary.

In December 2019, the Criminal Court sentenced Yameen to five years in prison and a fine of USD 5 million over the embezzlement of MVR 3.4 billion from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), the largest graft scandal to take place in Maldives till date.

Yameen was implicated when a private company, SOF Pvt Ltd, deposited USD 1 million embezzled from MMPRC, to his personal account at Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) in 2015.

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