Malé, Maldives – Supreme Court of Maldives has acquitted former President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom of criminal court’s guilty ruling regarding money laundering.
Former President Yameen was acquitted of the Criminal Court judgement unanimously by three justices of the Supreme Court; Presiding Justice Mahaz Ali, Justice Azmiralda Zahir and Justice Mohamed Ibrahim
In November 2019, the Criminal Court sentenced that Yameen was guilty of laundering USD 1 million of the government through MMPRC by leasing GA. Vodamula. While a verdict on that case was appealed at the High Court, on January 21, High Court upheld the verdict of the Criminal Court.
The Supreme Court’s decision to acquit hinged on two main factors, the origin of the USD 1 million and the testimonies of two key witnesses.
- While the prosecutors argues that the USD 1 million was embezzled from the state, a discrepancy in the cheque number used to deposit the money, numbers are different in the bank statement and the deposit slip from the money laundering mediatory company SOF was different, caused contradictions to the origin of the cheque. The Supreme Court judges stated that it is not proven beyond doubt that the USD 1 million belonged to the state.
- Statements by key witnesses Ahmed Adeeb (bro) and Abdulla Ziyath, who were noted by the defense as hostile towards former President Yameen but accepted by the Criminal Court, were disregarded by the Supreme Court on the premise that they were untrustworthy under Islamic Shariah since they has confessed to a crime.
The Supreme Court expressed alarm over the prosecution’s decision to not prosecute SOF for embezzling approximately MVR 3.4 billion. A non-prosecution agreement was made by the state with SOF during former PG Aishath Bidham’s term that the current Prosecutor General’s Office has upheld.
President Yameen’s supporters are celebrating in joy at various locations including in front of the former President’s home.
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has filed money laundering charges against the former President on 24 November 2021 at the Criminal Court regarding the lease of V. Aarah. The PGO also has another ongoing case against the Former President of accepting bribes worth MVR 117,000 during the lease of R. Fuggiri for the development of a tourist resort.