Ziyath pleads guilty, state requests 11 year sentence

Former Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Abdulla Ziyath on Monday pleaded guilty to 32 charges raised against him. Ziyath pleaded guilty to all charges under a plea deal with the state, in return for a reduced sentence. The state has requested to jail Ziyath for 11 years.

During Monday’s hearing held at the Criminal Court, Ziyath said he was not pleading guilty under duress. Ziyath had pleaded guilty to the charges even before, during a Supreme Court appeal hearing held regarding the Criminal Court's decision to jail him for eight years over the unlawful leasing of Lh. Maabinhuraa island.

In the charges raised against Ziyath, the state said Ziyath had misappropriated MVR 781 million. However, Ziyath denied having received any of the funds in cash. Ziyath said he received cheques equivalent to the amount, which he then handed over the cheques to others as instructed by then Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.

An eight year jail sentence was handed to Ziyath by the Criminal Court after he was found guilty of misappropriating USD five million paid to MMPRC as acquisition cost for Maabinhuraa Island. When the verdict was challenged in the High Court, the High Court also concluded that the Criminal Court’s verdict was correct. While Ziyath is currently serving the sentence, he has been under house arrest since February 2019.