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Court levies charges against ex-VP Adeeb over undue lease of 10 islands

Shaina Abdulla
22 July 2018, MVT 19:38
Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb
Shaina Abdulla
22 July 2018, MVT 19:38

Criminal Court, on Sunday, charged former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb with 10 counts of corruption over the undue lease of 10 islands for tourism development.

The former VP was charged in accordance with Subject 12 (a) of the law on prevention and prohibition of corruption, for leasing the island against Subject 4 of the Tourism Act.

Subject 12 (a) of the law on prevention and prohibition of corruption states that it is an offence for an employee of government or a government venture to use position or influence from position, to gain or confer an undue advantage pertaining to a task or connected to a task being carried out by the agency or place of his employment.

Subject 4 of the Tourism Act renders the authority to determine zones for the development of tourism in the Maldives, islands for development as tourist resorts and places for development as marinas solely unto the president.

If convicted of any of the charges, Adeeb will be sentenced to an additional three years of jail time.

During the preliminary hearing on Monday, Adeeb had denied all charges and confessed that the embezzlement of resort lease payments and other funds from the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) was the biggest corruption scandal in the history of Maldives.

Adeeb defended himself and argued that over 35 resorts had been developed in the islands and lagoons leased during his tenure as the tourism minister. He further added that between 2012 and 2013, all rent and fees from resort islands was deposited to Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA).

However, Adeeb alleged that upon appointing him as tourism minister, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had directed to deposit all rent and fees to MMPRC.

He further claimed that the embezzled money was taken straight to the president’s house, where over USD 80 million was counted in a specified count room, with the help of a Bangladeshi expat.

The former VP also claimed he was being charged on multiple counts in order to cover up President Yameen’s involvement in the biggest corruption scandal in the country.

Adeeb had alleged that after the corruption scandal was uncovered, USD 1 million of the embezzled money was deposited to the personal account of President Yameen at the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB), and further added that he was threatened to keep mum on the president’s involvement in the scandal.

Adeeb is currently sentenced to jail for 33 years over his involvement in the MMPRC scandal and over terrorism charges for orchestrating an assassination attempt on President Yameen in September 2015.