New challenges have been posed in continuing the MMPRC corruption probe after the Criminal Court dropped all charges raised against former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor with regard to the case.
All seven charges, including money laundering allegations, were raised against Adeeb from the overall investigation into the MMPRC graft, where millions in state funds were embezzled. Adeeb was previously found guilty of one charge raised against him in connection to the MMPRC corruption on a separate occasion, on the issue of corruption involved in leasing the island, Maabinhuraa. The Criminal Court at that time sentenced him to 10 years in prison. However, the High Court ordered the Criminal Court to conduct a retrial, and overturned the lower court verdict, stating that the previous investigation was biased.
Although the Prosecutor General appealed the case in Supreme Court, the case was later dropped by PG as per a plea deal with Adheeb. Following the High Court's rule, the Criminal Court decided not to conduct a retrial into the case and sent back other charges filed against Adheeb.
During Tuesday’s preliminary hearing of the fresh seven charges, the presiding judge Ismail Rasheed said Adeeb has already been tried and convicted in regard to the MMPRC corruption. The law does not allow for the same person to be punished for the same offence twice, said the judge in his ruling,
However, the state had noted during the trial that the charges pursued in the case of Maabinhuraa leasing was a separate issue, and no verdict was issued for Adheeb over the whole MMPRC corruption scandal. Thus, there is no reason that the case cannot be proceeded as a case of MMPRC corruption as a whole.
If the Criminal Court's decision is maintained by higher courts, Adheeb will emerge innocent from the whole MMPRC’s corruption scandal. However, the Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has revealed that the state has enough evidence against Adeeb to charge him over more than 150 offences.
While a joint investigation by the presidential commission on state assets recovery, Anti-corruption Commission, and the police, is ongoing over the case of MMPRC corruption, PG has said additional cases will be filed in the upcoming days.