Jailed ex-VP admitted to offering MVR80 mln for Feb 1 order, witness says

Maldives' jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor admitted to offering MVR80 million (USD5.2 million) to execute the "systematically planned" landmark Supreme Court order on February 1 to release jailed political leaders, a police officer claimed in a statement to the investigation.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including former VP Adheeb and self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

Yameen's half-brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and four former government lawmakers have been charged with terrorism for their involvement in the coup plot through the February 1 court order.

Several statements given to the police have been leaked on social media which included some from lower court judges saying how the chief justice and judge Hameed had influenced their rulings. The leaked documents also included testimonies from top police officials and the intelligence report following the February 1 court order.

One of the statements included in the leak was from a police officer who had been assigned to escort Adheeb and Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon from the custodial jail in Dhoonidhoo island to the capital Male shortly after the top court order.

According to the statement, the duo had been on the same speedboat awaiting green light from marine police. The cop told the investigation that he had clearly heard part of the conversation between Adheeb and Faris on the speedboat.

"... offered MVR80 million for this. This was very systematically planned. They had to release everyone didn't they," Adheeb told Faris, according to the cop.

Despite the major accusation, the ex-VP who is serving 33 years in prison over multiple counts of terrorism and corruption including the blast aboard the presidential speedboat which has been now confirmed as a plot to assassinate president Yameen has not been officially questioned or charged over the February 1 top court order.