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Judge rejects Mayor’s pre-trial motions

Mohamed Rehan
16 September 2022, MVT 06:25
The former Minister of Housing; Dr. Mohamed Muizzu was granted a 10-day period to gather counter evidence--
Mohamed Rehan
16 September 2022, MVT 06:25

Criminal Court of the Maldives denied pre-trial motions presented by the Mayor of the Male’ city Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

He is charged for perjury, while acting as the Minister of Housing. Dr. Muizzu is suspected with falsifying his account related to a contract termination of Noomadi; a local company Housing Ministry had previously contracted for a project.

Dr. Muizzu had allegedly falsified his statement at the arbitration court in Netherlands, in favor of Noomadi.

The former housing minister's defense presented a set of four distinct pieces of evidences, with one of them placing ambiguity on the place of the committed offence.

Presiding judge in the case Sofwath Habeeb, countered notifying the absence of the place of offence was not sufficient to vindicate a suspect from allegations placed on them. Habeeb further argued absence of this piece of information was inconsequential towards the validity of the charge in its entirety.

Defense argued against adduction of two witnesses, which was dismissed by the court during Thursday's trial proceedings. Judge had argued the current stage of the trial was not concerned with weighing and challenging the evidence, but rather about confirming their admissibility.

On the other hand, prosecution presented three witnesses and documentary evidence to support their charges. Documents include letters Dr. Muizzu sent out in his capacity as the former housing minister, as well his written statement to the Netherlands arbitration.

Documents also included letters that confirmed Noomadi failing to complete some of their contracted tasks.

The former housing minister's defense requested for counter evidence. Trial's judge sanctioned 10 days for the defense to collect them.

A guilty verdict in cases of perjury will surmount to four months and 24 days jail time, with subject to leniency.

Following contract termination, Noomadi sought damages worth USD155 million from Netherlands arbitration. The then administration later sought dispute resolution outside of the court. State settled a sum of USD55 million to the contractor as recompense.