State to appeal Sealife MD's release at High Court

The State has said it would appeal the Criminal Court's decision to release Ahmed 'Ammaty' Moosa at the High Court.

The Criminal Court released Ahmed Moosa, who was in detention pending outcome of trial, on Wednesday. He was released on bail after his two sisters, Mariyam Naeema and Afeefa Moosa offered to be guarantors who would ensure that he attends hearings. The Criminal Court released him on bail on the condition that he checks in at the police headquarters at 9:00 am every day. The court also said he is forbidden from communicating with any witnesses presented by the state, and that he cannot leave Male' City without the court's permission.

The State has always emphasized that Ahmed Moosa is a flight risk, with a history of such actions. Although the law allows those on trial to be released on bail, the case on hand and its history continues to assert that he is a flight risk, the state said. Therefore, the Criminal Court's decision to release Ahmed Moosa on bail will be appealed by the Prosecutor General's Office next week, they said.

The Criminal Court once before released Ahmed Moosa after setting certain conditions. However, the decision was appealed at the High Court even then, and the upper court had ruled that he must remain in detention.

Ahmed Moosa was arrested in February in neighboring Sri Lanka where he was on the run for over two years after defrauding a large number of people out of millions by stealing the booking fees paid for a proposed apartment complex in Hulhumale. A red notice to locate Ahmed Moosa was issued in 2019 by Interpol after he went on the run. He was extradited to the Maldives in March following his arrest. The state has raised 42 charges against him, and cases against Ahmed Moosa were filed at the Criminal Court on May 30.

Sea Life Global Private Limited announced and advertised luxury apartments in reclaimed suburbs Hulhumale’, and took booking payments from interested buyers in 2013. In the initial phase of the project, Sea Life Global took a booking fee of MVR 50,000 from 280 interested buyers, for the projected 300 apartments in the building. This adds up to approximately MVR 14 million.

However, the apartment building was never constructed, and refunds were not issued to the buyers. Complaints were filed with the police and the Anti-Corruption Commission seeking refunds and on suspicions that illicit activities were conducted during the implementation of the project. Cases were filed against Sea Life Global, Housing Development Corporation (HDC), and the Economic Ministry at the Civil court over the Sea Life Global Complex, due to failure to return the booking fees taken from the buyers.