Opposition, MDP supporters clash as ex-pres heads for police questioning

Dozens of opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) supporters clashed with main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters near the residence of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom before he headed to the police headquarters for questioning.

PPM supporters had gathered outside its camp near Yameen's residence where he had planned to walk to the police headquarters.

However, MDP supporters armed with placards calling for the former president's arrest had also gathered outside its main camp a short distance away before they marched towards Yameen's residence.

Yameen's supporters however had blocked them off amid clashes between the two sets of supporters.

The former president was forced to abandon his plans to walk to the police headquarters and has left in a car instead.

PPM has now confirmed that the police were looking to question him over the alleged USD1.5 million he received for the elections.

Al Jazeera cited a confidential letter sent the country's anti-money laundering body to the police saying the then president received the money in two installments to a private bank account at the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB).

The document from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), an agency under the Maldives' central bank, was dated September 13 and was addressed to the then acting police commissioner Abdulla Nawaz.

In the letter, the FIU said a third party deposited USD648,508 in hard currency into the president's account on September 5. Another USD810,635 was deposited to the same account on September 10.

The whole amount was later withdrawn in hard currency, Al Jazeera said referring to the letter.

The criminal court meanwhile has frozen Yameen's bank accounts over the investigation into financial fraud.

Yameen lost the September 23 election by a margin of 16 percent to opposition alliance candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in an outcome hailed as a win for democracy in the crisis-hit archipelago.

Yameen has also been linked to the biggest corruption scandal in the country's history.

Yameen's former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor who had been jailed over the scandal has repeatedly accused the president of sanctioning the embezzlement of millions of dollars from the state coffers.