'There is nothing Imran would not do' : Ex-pres Yameen

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has stated that Home Minister Imran Abdulla is 'capable of doing anything'.

Speaking at a ceremony held at Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) office on Sunday, President Yameen made his statement in reference to the remarks made by former President of Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) Hassan Luthufee, claiming that he was threatened by top government officials to testify against President Yameen in his money laundering trial.

Luthufee had claimed that he was forced to leave the country due to continuous threats, and that the warnings were given by Home Minister Imran.

Speaking on Sunday night, the former president said some heads of government entities are not brave enough to stay on the right path, and that all they are concerned with is defending their positions.

Stating that the money laundering charges raised against him were 'born out of fiction', this became evident after the preliminary hearings were concluded and witnesses were summoned, said Yameen.

'It was when witnesses were being summoned that Luthufee [former president of ACC] found the courage to say he would not testify. He revealed the reason behind his decision, did he not? For sure, they [the reasons] were not announced on my Facebook page. He updated it to his Facebook page. The judge himself said in court that a letter had been sent there [to the Criminal Court]. It outlined the reasons why [Luthufee] refused to testify. He revealed how his witness statement was previously obtained. What did [they] do? Today's Home Minister went to him [Luthufee] and warned him, threatened him, and said he would be jailed, Luthufee had revealed on Facebook. This is not something I am telling,' said Yameen.

President Yameen added that Luthufee now states that neither Luthufee nor then-ACC Vice President Muawwiz Rasheed, who testified against Yameen, had met with President Yameen regarding the US$ 1 million that was allegedly laundered by the former president. According to Luthufee, no instructions were given to Yameen in any form to handover the funds in question to the state. Home Minister Imran does not have the strength to refute or deny Luthufee's claims, added the President.

"Imran has not denied it. Imran merely raised questions. 'Maldivian citizens would not believe I would do something like this'. Why did not he outright deny the allegations while in the sacred land of Mecca? He [Imran] was performing Umrah at the time. He tweeted [from there] that Maldivians would not believe he would do such a thing. No.. Maldivians believe there is nothing Imran would hesitate to do,' said Yameen.

President Yameen reiterated that Luthufee was threatened and forced to sign a statement against him, and that he does not know whether Muawwiz was threatened or bribed into giving his statement the way he did. However, he is aware that Muawwiz did not have the courage to speak up at the hearing.

"The case had a leg to stand on when both these people [Luthufee and Muawwiz] signed [the statements]. They obtained two witnesses. Both of these people testified. If these two individuals were out of the picture, there would be no case," said Yameen.

Yameen said the whole case was based on statements coaxed out of two individuals. The charges were taken to court, and after doing one wrong after the other in carrying the case forward, Luthufee is now unable to get himself out of the predicament despite his attempts to do so, said Yameen.

"This was done by the state with such deceit. This is why I am saying that this is a political charge. If we had been aware of this during the preliminary stage, we would have responded to it. There would be no case if that were the case. There would be no trial, the state would have no witnesses," said Yameen.

President Yameen is accused of defying an agreement between himself and the Anti-Corruption Commission, 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. 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.

While the trial has now concluded, a verdict is slated to be delivered on November 28.