'Carried out illegal activities on Pres Yameen's order', admits Adeeb

Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor has revealed in court that former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom gave him unlawful orders, and admitted that he participated in carrying out the orders.

President Yameen is accused of defying the agreement between himself and ACC, which stipulated the former president to move funds in his Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) account that are suspected of having being laundered, into an escrow account set up between the two parties.

While two cheques worth US$ 1 million were deposited into Yameen's MIB account by a private company named SOF Pvt Ltd, the funds are said to be embezzled state funds that were to be received by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company as acquisition cost for leasing islands for tourism purpose. It is believed that the US$ one million in question is the acquisition cost for the leasing of GDh. Vobumulaa island.

Adeeb testified against the former president during Thursday's hearing as a witness of the State. President Yameen himself cross-examined the witness, inquiring if Adeeb harbored any hostility towards him. In response, Adeeb said while he had been a victim of injustice and cruelty, he has forgiven all involved parties including President Yameen as he has been acquitted of all bogus charges against him.

President Yameen then asked Adeeb if individuals from SOF Pvt Ltd were friends of Adeeb. Answering in the affirmative, Adeeb said he those at SOF were his friends, as they were of President Yameen. Yameen responded how Adeeb came to the conclusion that they were his 'friends', to which Adeeb responded that the fact that Yameen was acquainted with them established hem as 'friends'.

'President Yameen has communicated with them, the text messages in my phone will attest to that. They used to call you, and they have delivered funds to your home', said Adeeb.

'They did not deliver money to my home- that is a lie', retorted Yameen in response.

'SOF deposited funds that should have gone to MMPRC, and exchanged currency and took it to your home, as you are aware', said Adeeb.

President Yameen then clarified why Adeeb had stated that the funds deposited into Yameen's account were not campaign contributions, to which Adeeb said that the president was aware that funds in SOF were MMPRC funds and not campaign funds.

"No campaign funds entered SOF. SOF had MMPRC funds. campaign fund would either be in PPM's accounts or with candidates - this is when an election is looming up ahead. If not, there would have been no campaign funds. The events in question took place in 2015, there was no election that year. Therefore, we would not have received campaign funds in millions", said Adeeb.

Adeeb further revealed that he did not instruct SOF to deposit the funds into President Yameen's account, and the order came directly from Yameen himself. President Yameen was aware that the fund were deposited as a manager at Islamic Bank had notified President Yameen of the deposit, he said.

A large amount of funds that should have entered the state treasury was embezzled, said Adeeb, and that both Adeeb and President Yameen are responsible for the corruption, admitted Adeeb under oath.

The back and fourth banter became heated after President Yameen asked Adeeb if there was any legal grounds on which cheques made out to MMPRC can be deposited into SOF accounts.

"Are you implying that you carried out an illegal activity on the command of President Yameen?", he asked, to which Adeeb replied in the affirmative. He repeated the same question multiple times, to which Adeeb admitted his participation.

"I am not concerned that I may receive a sentence due to what I am admitting here today. The people of the nation need to know the truth. The people's money should be returned to them", said Adeeb.

During the last hearing, President Yameen had stated that the funds in his MIB accout that were deposited by SOF Pvt Ltd were campaign funds. During Thursday's hearing, Adeeb said he had handled campaign funds in the past, which are utilized just ahead of an election. The maximum amounts usually received as campaign contributions are between MVR 100,000 - 200,000 said Adeeb.

"President Yameen did not specify the source of the 'campaign' funds. There was no upcoming election, so there is no way we had campaign funds", said Adeeb.

Yameen said the campaign funds were handled by Adeeb therefore he did not have the details of contributions, to which Adeeb responded if Yameen was alleging that he was not aware of who his top contributors were. When Yameen replied that he was not aware, Adeeb said it was a blatant lie.

Adeeb revealed that President Yameen had contacted him frequently regarding MMPRC funds, and had been in contact with him post the explosion on 'Finifenmaa' presidential launch, and requested to expedite payments receivable from Vodumulaa island lease and that of another lagoon.

Adeeb assured that he was giving his testimony on his free will.

"I have signed an agreement to cooperate with the state, because I wish to expose the people behind the MMPRC corruption and those who profited off it. I continue to receive threats due to my decision. I have received threats that I will be murdered in jail if I gave this testimony", said Adeeb.

Yameen is accused of attempting to cover up the source and trail of the original funds in his MIB account in an attempt to launder the funds. The original funds deposited by SOF Pvt Ltd were moved to President Yameen's investment account at Maldives Islamic Bank. If the money laundering charge against Yameen is proven, he will receive a sentence of 5-15 years in prison.