The Edition


Ex-President Yameen taken to Maafushi Prison

Nafaahath Ibrahim
18 February 2019, MVT 18:32
Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom being taken to Maafushi Prision. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Nafaahath Ibrahim
18 February 2019, MVT 18:32

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was taken to Maafushi Prison following orders issued by the Criminal Court to detain him till the end of his trial.

Yameen was charged with money laundering for his alleged involvement in the embezzlement of USD 1.3 billion from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC)'s funds.

SOF Pvt Ltd, a company known to have close ties with Ahmed Adeeb, former Vice President in Yameen's government transferred USD 1 million to the former President's account in Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) on November 2015.

The transaction took place after the MMPRC corruption case had surfaced.

During the trial held in court on Monday, state lawyer Aishath Mohamed stated that documents presented served as evidence that Yameen had attempted to influence witnesses. It was suggested that he had offered bribes to witnesses in exchange for amending their statements.

Speaking at court, Yameen refuted the statements denying the offer of bribes and claiming that was not aware of the identities of the witnesses.

He said that while this is a money laundering case, the only evidence would be bank statements and that those cannot be changed in any way.

"So, my defence is bank documentary evidence", claimed Yameen.

The former President repeatedly stated that he was unaware of what evidence the Prosecutors have based their case on.

Yameen also said SOF transferred the funds to his account without his knowledge.

'I was not aware of the money deposited into my account, and I was not informed by an institution that they were embezzled funds" said Yameen.

He highlighted that even though no institution pointed out that those were embezzled funds, he had the money transferred to an escrow account upon the Anti Corruption Commission's (ACC) request.

It had later surfaced that the money transferred to the escrow account on June 10, 2018, was from a BML account under Yameen's name. The state concluded it to be an intent to defraud and evidence to money laundering charges.

"There was already money in my account before SOF's money was deposited. SOF's money does not belong to the state. It is MMPRC's funds that the state should receive. So SOF's money being deposited to my account is not a criminal offence." stated Yameen

He maintained that he has not laundered money nor used the means of bribery to accomplish anything. He added that he would refrain from using any such means in the future as well.

When Yameen raised questions on why it took such a long time for charges to be pressed against him, the Prosecution responded claiming that he had influenced institution and stopped them to from probing during his time in office.

Despite Yameen's claims of innocence, Chief Judge of Criminal Court Ahmed Hailam ruled in favour or lawyer Aistha's request and ordered the former President to be kept in a remanded jail until the end of his trial.