Verdict hearing in former President Abdulla Yameen’s money laundering hearing has been scheduled for November 5.
Presiding Judge Ahmed Hailam announced this before concluding Wednesday’s summary hearing.
Yameen is accused of laundering USD one million through the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), via a private company SoF, during his presidency. He is also accused of using the funds for financial gain, despite being ordered to transfer it to an escrow account under an agreement with the anti-corruption watchdog.
The state had submitted eight names as witnesses; former ACC presidents Hassan Luthufee and Muavviz Rasheed, former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, former Minister of Tourism Moosa Zameer, former heard of MMPRC Abdulla Ziyath, Mohamed Luaviz, Mohamed Waseem Ismail, and Mohamed Shareef. While Luthufee refused to testify in court claiming threats to his life, the court decided to accept a video recording of his statement from the investigation.
As documentary evidence the state submitted ACC’s report, MMPRC audit report, Yameen’s statement to ACC, transaction cheques and slips, as well as bank statements and the former president’s financial records.
The defence submitted only one name as a witness; former governor at the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) Azeema Adam. She had recused herself from testifying, and the court has decided to halt work to present her to court and obtain a testimony.
As documentary evidence, the defence had submitted a press release from MMA -which was shown in Al Jazeera’s investigative documentary ‘Stealing Paradise’- and a Civil Court order on SoF regarding its transactions with MMPRC.
At Wednesday’s summary hearing, state prosecutors noted that the former president had agreed to transfer the USD one million from SOF to an escrow account, but that evidence proves that the funds deposited to the said escrow account was acquired through a third party and that this was done to mislead authorities on the origin of the funds.
The state ended its closing argument after noting that there is enough evidence to find Yameen guilty, as per Article 51 of the Constitution.
The defence denied any wrongdoing, stressing that the state was unable to prove “without a doubt” that the funds deposited to the former president’s account was obtained unlawfully.
A few of Yameen’s supporters had gathered near the Criminal Court towards the end of the hearing at around 5pm.