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Maldives graft watchdog probes Villa island settlement agreements: lawyer

Shaina Abdulla
11 June 2018, MVT 13:03
R to L: Gasim Ibrahim and President Yameen Abdul Gayoom
Shaina Abdulla
11 June 2018, MVT 13:03

Lawyer Mohamed Siraj has revealed that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently probing into settlement agreements of the islands between the government and Jumhoory Party (JP) leader and business tycoon Qasim Ibrahim’s Villa Group.

ACC, last Thursday, questioned former tourism minister Ahmed Adheeb from his cell in Dhoonidhoo prison, as well as staff of the tourism ministry over the ongoing probe.

Speaking to a local news outlet, lawyer Siraj revealed that Adheeb refused to cooperate with ACC as questioning can only take place in the commission after an official summons.

Adheeb is currently sentenced to jail for 33 years over his involvement in the biggest corruption scandal in the country, and orchestrating an assassination attempt on President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

In 2015, after the government decided to cancel the lease agreements and seized the islands and lagoons, Villa had filed a lawsuit which was ruled in favour of the company by the lower court. However, the High Court had overturned the ruling in favor of the government, which was later appealed at the Supreme Court by Villa. Supreme Court had ruled in favour of the company in April 2018.

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