Maldives' Ex-Pres refutes graft allegations

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom spent five hours at the police headquarters on Tuesday.

The ex-President, who is facing graft allegations, was summoned to the police headquarters for a second time this week.

While he was previously summoned twice for questioning on money laundering allegations, Tuesday's session was for the purpose of signing statements.

Speaking to the media after his questioning, Yameen stated that no government authorities have declared all funds in the SOF account as unlawful. If the funds in the account are suspected of being unlawful, the government should ask all businesses and persons to cease from accepting any form of payment from the company, said Yameen.

Police had earlier grilled Yameen for four hours on Sunday in connection to a deposit he supposedly made to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Police later said the former president has been accused of money laundering and providing false information to the ACC related to the investigation into the largest corruption scandal in the country's history.

The official audit report into the Maldives Media and PR Corporation (MMPRC) scandal, had revealed that over USD79 million had been embezzled through the state tourism promotion company.

The funds received by MMPRC was distributed through a private company called SOF Private Limited with strong links to the now jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

Shortly after the scandal was uncovered, USD1 million was deposited by SOF to Yameen's personal account at the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB).

On Tuesday, Yameen said that the funds were not deposited to the escrow account set up at Bank of Maldives between himself and the ACC, as instructed by the graft watchdog, due to suspicions on the lawfulness of the funds.

The funds were deposited to another account of the Yameen at MIB instead, and he refrained from utilizing the funds as he did not wish to bring on additional accusations on himself, revealed Yameen.

The movement of the funds between the accounts cannot be deemed as money laundering as he himself was not aware of the initial deposit, said Yameen. The police did not question him regarding money laundering, added Yameen.

The former president further revealed that the funds existing in his BML accounts are clean and are in no way related to the funds in the MIB account.

The former president signed detailed statements given to the police.