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Ex-pres Yameen appeals order to freeze bank accounts

Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 December 2018, MVT 15:13
Aishath Azima Shakoor (C) of former President Abdulla Yameen's legal team speaks at press conference. PHOTO: AHMED NISHAATH/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 December 2018, MVT 15:13

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has appealed the Criminal Court's order to freeze his bank accounts.

At a press conference on Monday, the former president's lawyer Aishath Azima Shakoor declared that the freezing of his accounts at Bank of Maldives Ltd (BML) and Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) was politically motivated, and that there were legal concerns involved.

She alleged that Yameen's accounts were "selectively frozen" to hinder opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in the upcoming Parliamentary Election in April 2019.

Elaborating on the reasons behind her accusation, Azima highlighted that, during the recent interrogation, the police had questioned Yameen only about MVR 22.5 million which was deposited in his account in two separate installments ahead of the presidential election this year.

"We do not believe that there is anything to warrant freezing all of his accounts," she said.

The lawyer further stated that Yameen's account details and a report of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) were submitted in order to issue the court order.

In response to a reporter's inquiry whether MMA had submitted the report out of political motives, Azima replied, "Yes. MMA doesn't look into just one case, does it? And thus, we believe so."

However, Azima declined to comment whether she believed political influence had been involved in the Criminal Court issuing the order.

She further asserted that the police had not inferred in their interrogation that Yameen was linked to any criminal offences, nor had they provided any such proof or evidence.

The Criminal Court had issued the order to freeze Yameen's accounts at BML and MIB in mid-December at the request of the police, in connection with ongoing investigations of alleged corruption. Maldives Police Service soon after summoned Yameen for interrogation regarding questionable sums of money deposited in his account during the Presidential Election in September this year.

Police later issued a statement that hefty deposits and financial transactions were made to the former president's accounts over the past five years. Revealing that the assets amounted to over MVR 100 million, Police stated that the accounts were frozen due to the ongoing investigation.

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