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Supreme Court overturns Maldives ex-president's money laundering conviction

Niumathullah Idhurees
30 November 2021, MVT 23:21
Former President Yameen meets supporters after his release. -- PHOTO: FAYAZ MOOSA/MIHAARU
Niumathullah Idhurees
30 November 2021, MVT 23:21

Supreme Court has ordered to overturn the five-year prison sentence issued against former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom for money laundering, on Tuesday.

Yameen was found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison by the Criminal Court in November 2019. He was ordered to pay the state $5 million within five months.

The High Court upheld the lower court's decision, prompting the defense to file a appeal with the Supreme Court. The appellate hearings ended on November 5, but a second hearing was held later that day, on November 18.

Yameen received USD 1 million in his personal account through a private company, SOF - the acquisition money for Vodumula, which was to enter MMPRC coffers, according to the original Criminal Court verdict. The bench noticed that the cheque number on the deposit slip did not match the cheque number in SOF's bank records during the November 18 hearing. It was a clerical error, according to the state.

The state could not prove that the USD one million deposited to Yameen's account were funds for state accounts, according to the bench's decision on Tuesday. The disparity in check numbers should have been detected by both the Criminal and High Courts, according to the report. It claimed that the state's response to the disparity in check numbers was unclear.

The Supreme Court's decision was based on the fact that the USD one million in question may not have been intended for state accounts, as well as the acceptance of witness statements from morally corrupt individuals. The truth about the funds in question, according to the ruling, is unknown.

Yameen has been charged in two other cases of the MMPRC corruption scandal. The charges were brought against him in connection with the transactions that were issued to R. Fugguri and the transactions that were carried out in Connection with the lease of V. Aarah. Each case involved accepting bribes with money laundering charges.

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