Ex-pres summoned to appear in court for money laundering trial

Former president Abdulla Yameen has been summoned to appear in court for a hearing on his money laundering trial.

Although the summon asked the former to present himself at the Criminal Court on Thursday, the court has not tabled and announced the hearing thus far.

While the preliminary hearings of the case are ongoing, the last hearing of the trial was held on 25th April 2019.

During the hearing, Prosecutor General (PG) presented the names of eight witnesses to testify against the former president, including two former Tourism Ministers during Yameen’s presidency, Ahmed Adeeb and Moosa Zameer.

During the next hearing, both the prosecution and the defendant will be given the opportunity to submit their pretrial motions. This is a right given under the criminal procedure code.

At the first procedural hearing, the Prosecutor General presented in detail the charges against the former president. The PG attorney, Mohamed Alim stated that two cheques worth US$ one million issued by SOF Private Limited were deposited into President Yameen’s saving account at Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB), which was later moved to Yameen’s General Investment account at the same bank. SOF Pvt Ltd is said to have embezzled funds received by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) in the biggest corruption scandal witnessed by the country.

An escrow account was later set up between President Yameen and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to keep the funds in question until the end of investigation. However, the funds that were deposited into the escrow account were not the funds in Yameen’s account, with the deposited US$ one million having originated from Yameen’s tourism Minister Moosa Zameer’s account, said PG attorney Alim.

Yameen’s failure to transfer the original funds into the escrow account and instead depositing funds from another source can be assumed to be an attempt to launder the original funds which are suspected to be illegal funds, said the PG attorney. If the money laundering charge against Yameen is proven, he will receive a sentence of 5-15 years in prison.