Top court orders to detain ex-VP until end of trial

The Supreme Court has ordered former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor to be remanded into custody until the end of his trial.

Adeeb was arrested for attempting to flee the country while a travel ban was imposed on him over ongoing investigations.

The Criminal Court remanded the former vice president to 15 days in custody after he was detained in India and returned to Maldives after his attempt to flee the country. His remand is due to fleeing the country while a travel ban was imposed on him.

In an new development, the Supreme Court issued an order on Thursday to detain Adeeb until his trial concludes after the Prosecutor General filed a motion at the Supreme Court seeking an order to detain former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor until the end of the appeal proceedings in his Maabinhura embezzlement case, stating that he was a flight risk.

In the top court order issued on Thursday, the court said it has been confirmed that Adeeb attempted to flee the Maldives while his passport was withheld. While the Prosecutor General continues to implore that Adeeb is a flight risk, Adeeb has to be detained due to the nature of the case, ruled the court.

The court therefore ordered Maldives Correctional service to detain Adeeb at a remand jail until the appeal of the embezzlement case is concluded. The new order will dismiss the current custodial order issued remanding Adeeb to 15 days in custody, read the order.

During the Supreme Court hearing held on Thursday, the attorney from Prosecutor General's Office said the remand order issued by the Criminal Court was over Adeb's attempt to flee the country. Adeeb's lawyers expressed disapproval that the Criminal Court's order remanding Adeeb was over the same issue, and said it would block the opportunity to appeal the decision.

However, the State's attorney said while Adeeb was remanded to 15 days at a custodial jail by the Criminal Court, the State is seeking to detain Adeeb at a remand jail until the end of his trial.

The Criminal Court sentenced Adeeb to eight years in jail in 2016 after he was found guilty of depositing the acquisition cost for leasing Lh. Maabinhuraa to Kuredu Holdings Private Limited, into the account of Millennium Capitals. Adeeb's uncle Haamid Ismail is a shareholder of the company, and Adeeb himself worked at Millennium Capitals before being appointed as the Tourism Minister during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's administration. Although the High Court initially maintained Criminal Court's ruling, they later overturned the conviction and dismissed it during May this year.

Dismissing his conviction, the High Court referred to the controversial February 1 Supreme Court order, stating that the order and the terror charges that followed were politically motivated and violated the rights assured by the Maldivian constitution and criminal procedural laws. They also noted that the police investigations into the cases were also politically influenced.

However, the Prosecutor General's office filed an appeal over Adeeb's acquittal at the Supreme Court, and sought a motion to issue an arrest warrant to detain Adeeb and withhold his passport. While the Supreme Curt issued an order to withhold Adeeb's passport earlier in June, Adeeb fled the country last week while an active travel ban was imposed on him.