President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has resolved on filing defamation charges against main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and opposition aligned Raajje TV for allegedly waging a personal feud with the President ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.
President Yameen made the decision after prominent members of MDP, during a press conference, accused the president of being associated with a local company involved in illegal oil trade. Charges are also to be raised against Raajje TV for broadcasting the press conference.
The press conference was held by MDP Chairperson Hassan Latheef and MDP Secretary General Anas Abdul Sattar.
Maldives Police Service had earlier refuted the accusations levied by the opposition, claiming President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s alleged association with a local company involved in illegal oil trade.
MDP filed a case earlier this week at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), in which the main opposition accused former colonel of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), Mohamed Ziyad, of being involved in illegal oil trade under Green Box Private Limited, and alleged that President Yameen was associated with the local company.
The allegations first surfaced after the Japanese foreign ministry reported that an aircraft of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force had spotted two tankers around midnight on February 24, some 250km outside of the eastern shore of Shanghai. A Maldivian-flagged tanker ‘Xin Yuan 18’ was lying alongside North Korean-flagged tanker ‘Chon Ma San’, which was designated as a vessel of targeted sanction against North Korea by the US government.
Japan had said that the two vessels “could have been engaging in some type of activity.”
While the initial reports of the two tankers had given rise to speculations on social media that the Maldivian-flagged “Xin Yuan 18” belonged to Green Box Pvt Ltd, Ziyad had subsequently proclaimed that the rumours were untrue and designed to slander his name.
Police spokesperson Ahmed Shifan had declared that the police had conducted an extensive investigation into the case of the two tankers, of which the trial has commenced and two hearings already held. He further highlighted that the suspect charged over the case has been remanded until the end of the trial.
However, Shifan also stated that none of the interrogations conducted in the police investigation had unearthed any accusations or suspicions that linked President Yameen to the case.
The police also strongly condemned the spreading of misinformation regarding cases that affected national security.
Meanwhile MDP had alleged that Greenbox had used a Maldivian flag and call sign unlawfully and claimed that the company is involved in illegal oil trade in the Maldives without declaration.
The party's Chairperson Hassan Latheef further claimed that the Maldivian flagged tanker had used the call sign of an oil tanker that belongs to former Colonel Ziyad’s company Greenbox. Linking President Yameen with the local company under fire, Latheef alleged that President Yameen had contacted the board members of Bank of Maldives (BML) in order to process a loan requested by Greenbox.