Ex-pres urges supporters to take care of party if verdict finds him guilty

Former President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has stated that he does not believe the verdict set to be delivered on Thursday in his money laundering trial will find him guilty.

Speaking at a rally held Wednesday night ahead of his final hearing, the former president said Allah's plans will always prevail despite any wicked plans being made by today's 'tyrant government'. Yameen said he does not believe an unfavourable verdict will be delivered on Thursday.

President Yameen said he first has to prove his innocence to his family, and to his 'political' family. While he has been able to convince his 'families', broadcasting his trial live on national TV with the intention of further humiliating him only proved his innocence further, said Yameen.

If the trial was fair, the bench presiding over his case would be aware of his innocence as well, said the former president. He reiterated that he was unhappy with the current bench, and said appointments were made to the bench unlawfully. A complaint has been filed at the Supreme Court by President Yameen over the concerns.

While there has been no changes to the bench, it is possible that an unfavourable outcome may also arise, said Yameen. He urged his supporters to take care of the party even if he is forced to leave the political arena for some time, said Yameen, hinting at a conviction.

"If an unfavourable outcome arises [in Thursday's verdict], I urge you to carry on our work with even more care. [They] are not jailing me, they simply wish to silence our work against the current government, and our work in the name of our country and religion, `` said Yameen.

Yameen said PPM is the only party that would speak against the anti-religious activities taking place in the country and the influencing of the judiciary. Therefore, the party should remain the same even if he is jailed, said Yameen.

"Ofcourse, my family will feel grief and sadness. But this must be done. Even if I have to leave you all for sometime, do attend the rallies to give your support to our senior leaders. Do not allow preying vultures to feast on us, do not allow them the opportunity", Yameen appealed.

Yameen recalled how the party grew weak when he was jailed in the past. While several high ranking leaders of the party and supporters left the party at the time, the same must not be repeated if he is jailed once again, urged the former president. While some of the members who left the party now regret their move, members must not allow 'people' to take over the party in his absence, requested Yameen.

Yameen requested not to measure his presence by his physical presence alone but to consider his spiritual presence in his absence. He stressed that the country's citizens have no support or love for the current government.

President Yameen is accused of defying the 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 been 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 the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company as acquisition cost for leasing islands for tourism purpose.

ACC instructed Yameen to move the deposited funds to the escrow account, however, President Yameen transferred US$ 1 million from his Bank of Maldives (BML) account instead of from the account in question. The transferred funds are reported to have been deposited into President Yameen's BML account by former Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer.

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.

A verdict will be delivered on November 28, Thursday.