PG Shameem to testify as a defense witness

The Criminal Court has accepted Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem, Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof, and former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed as defense witnesses in the criminal case against former MP Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik in relation to the MMPRC graft.

This will be the first time in the country's history that a person in the position of Prosecutor General will testify in a Criminal Court trial.

The prosecution has filed six charges against Nihan, including three counts of accepting bribes, two counts of giving bribes, and one count of money laundering. Nihan has pleaded not guilty to the six charges. The prosecution has since withdrawn one of the accepting bribery charges.

In a hearing held Thursday, despite objection from the prosecution, the presiding judge, Ali Adam, ruled that PG Shameem could be admitted as a witness in the trial. The judge said the prosecution had not made a strong argument to prove why Shameem could not be accepted as a defense witness.

Shameem's name was submitted as a defense witness in connection with a tweet he made while he was working as Adeeb's lawyer when the MMPRC corruption first surfaced.

The judge admitted Mahloof and Ali Waheed as defense witnesses, also while the prosecution objected to it. Mahloof's name was submitted as a witness as he had previously worked in the opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s parliamentary group and, therefore, would be aware of how matters are handled within the parliamentary group. Ali's name was submitted to prove questionable facts regarding Adeeb's mobile phone in the mobile forensic report prepared by the police.

President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih and Vice President Faisal Naseem were also submitted as defense witnesses, as both President Solih and VP Faisal had worked alongside Nihan in the Parliament and could prove how audit reports are handled in the Parliament's Public Finance Committee. However, the judge ruled that the President and Vice-President could not be admitted as witnesses.

Former MPs Ibrahim Falah, Riyaz Rashid, Ali Arif, Abdulla Rifau, Ibrahim Shujau, and Abdul Raheem Abdulla, have also been named as defense witnesses. The names of Eydhafushi MP and Minority Leader Ahmed Saleem, Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam, and Guraidhoo MP Ibrahim Riza were also submitted as defense witnesses. The judge admitted all as defense witnesses.