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Former Pres Yameen summoned for questioning

15 December 2018, MVT 20:38
Former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom talks to reporters after the police summons. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU
15 December 2018, MVT 20:38

Police summoned former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to the Police Headquarters on Saturday regarding ongoing investigations of corruption.

Speaking to the media outside the headquarters, Yameen confirmed that he had been questioned regarding MVR 22.5 million deposited into his bank account about two weeks before the 2018 presidential elections and a check of USD 1 million deposited into his account by the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

Yameen stated that the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) account was set up specifically for electoral expenses and the very same account was used during the 2013 election.

Azima Shukoor, the former minister of legal affairs and Yameen's lawyer, also stated that police could not clarify the criminal offence in money being deposited to an account set up for the campaign as per the law.

The former president stated that a campaign could not be financed with a sum as paltry as 'MVR 20 million,' and reasoned that the amount deposited into his account was not suspicious.

Yameen also stated that he was not the only one who contested in the election and expressed the belief that other candidates should also be questioned regarding their campaign expenses.

Both of Yameen's bank accounts at MIB and the Bank of Maldives (BML) have been frozen in relation to this investigation.

The former president stated that the Anti Corruption Commission of Maldives had previously investigated the USD 1 million cheque deposited into his account by MMPRC. He requested the police to clarify the matter with the graft watchdog.

Yameen stated that he was willing to co-operate with the police even in what he claimed was a politically motivated investigation.

Although the area immediately around the police headquarters had been barricaded, supporters of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) rallied in the vicinity in a show of solidarity to the former president, claiming that the investigation was politically motivated.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists, who were also present, ardently called for harsh punishments to individuals involved in corruption, expressing their belief that Yameen should be detained for the duration of his trial as he might attempt to influence it.

The former president has allegedly been involved in the MMPRC corruption scandal, the largest case of corruption on record in the Maldives.

In addition to this, there are also claims of foul play surrounding Yameen's re-election campaign. The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is currently in a dire financial situation due to having spent considerably on Yameen's campaign.

Recovering embezzled funds is a key pre-election pledge made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who established a Presidential Asset Recovery Commission within his first week in office.

This is the first time police have summoned the former president for investigation, during President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration.

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