Was Adeeb’s fame and Political ambitions hindering Yameen?

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On 4th May 2022, a group under the name ‘Maldivian Youth Force’ held protests in front of former President Abdulla Yameen’s residence, calling for his re-arrest.

The group made their debut in social media releasing a video showing a man who states that Yameen was working to demean the country; something they would not let happen.It was stressed in the video that this was a peaceful movement initiated by the youth.

PNC’s council member Hamdhan Shakeel said that the man who threatened Yameen on the video has been identified as a member of former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s party, Maldives Third-way Democrats (MTD) and has probed the police to look after this case immediately.

Why are these youths calling for Yameen’s re-arrest?

  • They voiced concerns about Yameen’s racist agenda of creating hate, racism and fear in Maldives.
  • They criticized him for his outlook on international relationships
  • Demanded re-arrest of Yameen and raised flags about the missing state funds from the MMPRC corruption.

What is the MMPRC scandal?

The 2014 biggest corruption scandal in Maldivian history— MMPRC. This news about the scandal surfaced after the arrest of then Vice President Ahmed Adeeb on suspicion of plotting to assassinate the President. Yameen went on to publicly accuse his former deputy of using illegal funds to bribe the police and military.

Power struggle between Adeeb and Yameen:

Its been speculated that the power struggle between Adeeb and Yameen were so strong that Yameen had to get rid of Adeeb.

The accurate timing, the motive and the results behind the infamous boat blast attack on Yameen, looked like a well executed plan to frame Adeeb that would end up getting him in jail. The person who would go on to benefit the most from jailing Adeeb would be Yameen.

Ahmed Adeeb’s stairway to Vice Presidency:

Adeeb began his career in the Maldives Customs Service, and soon became a businessman and ended up as the office-bearer of local chambers.

Adeeb was young and talented. When the nation was still in turmoil and recovering from the first multi-party democratic Presidential poll of 2008, which saw Mohamed Nasheed ousting Maumoon Abdul Gayoom from his 30 long years of autocratic rule, Adeeb started emerging himself in talks about economics- which not many politicians in the country were interested or less aware about it at that time.

Rendezvous of the once closed brothers:

Yameen was highly impressed by Adeeb, so much that when he won the presidential election in 2013, he made Adeeb the “tourism minister.” Many within PPM were displeased with Yameen’s decision but no one dared question Yameen.

Vice President(VP) at 33, the youngest man to become VP in Maldives:

Adeeb went onto becoming the youngest VP at the age of 33. He was appointed in June 2015, this overnight change in status was all set and arranged by Yameen.

Yameen was set on making Adeeb his Vice Presiden. He even made the Parliament to amend the Constitution and other relevant laws for bringing down the minimum age for Vice-Presidency to 30 years from the prescribed 35, enabling Adeeb to take the position.

Often, Adeeb would be called as Yameen’s henchman and his right hand. Much to his dismay, he must not have ever imagined that his life as Vice President will be so short-lived and that he would be losing not only his job but also be jailed on allegations of attempting to assassinate former President Yameen.

Adeeb served the shortest term in office. He witnessed his life crumble right before his eyes. Was his misfortunes conspired by jealous foes or was it to silence someone who could dig up dirt on Pres Yameen?

When things started going astray:

On Sept 28th, Yameen and his wife were returning home after concluding their visit to Saudi Arabia, when the explosion took place.

The former President escaped unhurt but his wife, Fathimath suffered minor injuries. At first, the authorities said that the explosion could have been a mechanical failure but they later changed the statement saying that it was an attempt to assassinate Yameen and launched a criminal investigation.

Soon after the bomb attack, rumors began circulating that Adeeb was behind it. Adeeb was arrested at the airport when he returned from an official visit to China.

According to Maldives’ Constitution if the President dies, is incapacitated or resigns, the Vice President succeeds him.

Two military officials were then taken into custody for allegedly tampering with evidence on the boat. Defense Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel was fired from his position with immediate effect. Adeeb’s arrest followed.

The international probes into the explosion point in different directions. While those by Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia confirm that the bomb was planted with an intent to murder the President, the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said that there is “no conclusive evidence” to link the blast on the boat to a bomb.

Prosecutors claim Adeeb and his bodyguards boarded the speedboat on the eve of the explosion and planted a bomb behind the President’s usual seat.

A soldier who gave the anonymous testimony said he had prepared two bombs for Adeeb on his request. The first bomb was intended to be set off on May Day 2015 during a major opposition protest, he said.

The soldier said he reduced the amount of explosives in the second bomb from 200g to 60g when he heard Adeeb say he would not go and receive Yameen when he returned from Saudi Arabia on the eve of the blast.

The defence claims the prosecution’s key witness is not reliable as he is yet to face charges over the bomb plot.

The Witch-hunt led by Yameen:

Yameen made sure he left no loose ends unattended. He sacked Adeeb’s defence minister and the police commissioner. He made sure to cripple Adeeb’s support system as one after another people close to Adeeb were either getting jailed or escaping the nation in fear of Yameen causing harm to them.

  • In September, President Yameen demoted three political appointees; State minister of fisheries and agriculture Zaha Waheed, demoted to the position of executive coordinator at the ministry. Zaha served as the secretary general of PPM.
  • State minister of law and gender Dr Hala Hameed was transferred to the foreign ministry as an additional secretary at the deputy minister level. Hala had also previously served as the Vice President of the Police Integrity Commission.
  • Defence Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel was sacked, while the head of the military unit tasked with providing security to the president, Colonel Ahmed ‘Papa’ Fayaz, has been stripped of his position and placed under administrative detention.
  • Adeeb’s bodyguard was under administrative detention at the military barracks.

Adeeb stripped of his rights to have a fair trial:

  • Ahmed Adeeb was facing charges for attempted murder, corruption, illegal weapons and bribery. He was also accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars from resort leases. Altogether, he was facing a sentence of almost 35 years of imprisonment.
  • June 1, 2016 -Judge in Adeeb’s boat blast trial ‘demoted,’ lawyers described the transfer as a politically motivated demotion
  • Controversial judge, Abdul Bari Yoosuf, took charge of all five cases: The acting chief judge of the criminal court had played a key role in the sentencing of prominent opposition leaders in the past year. This includes former President Mohamed Nasheed, two defence ministers, and the leader of the Adhaalath Party.
  •  The international human rights group said the “authorities have since 2016 ignored repeated requests for specialised medical treatment that is only available outside Maldives, even as Adeeb’s health deteriorated.”

Accusations made by Adeeb against Yameen:

In 2019, when they stood in trial for the MMPRC corruption case, both pinned it against one another. While Adeeb pressed on the fact that Yameen knew everything and was a part of it, Yameen would strongly deny saying that Adeeb managed the campaign funds at that time and thought the US$1 million transferred to him was also from those funds.

But Adeeb said campaign donations never exceeded MVR200,000 (US$12,970) and were only collected ahead of elections. There were no elections in late 2015 when Yameen claims to have asked him for the funds, he said.

Adeeb “a victim of a tyrannical regime?

Yameen was successful in making Adeeb his scapegoat. Dumped both the MMPRC case on Adeeb and also charged him with attempts of murder and terror related activity. But what Yameen thought would silence the ex VP, only made him more aggressive to find a voice within the jail and court rooms.

Adeeb let out on a series of allegations and statements against Yameen that’s very questionable but was never looked into or given much attention as the state at that time was being run by Yameen led govt.

Adeeb has even stated that he was scared for his life when he was inside the prison. He alleged that Yameen tried to murder him.

The man with many secrets:

It was not until Yameen’s presidential defeat in 2018 that Adeeb was tried again for his jail sentence on terrorism and corruption charges, which were wiped out citing political influence over his trials.

Many Maldivians to this day believe that Adeeb has been framed. Not entirely innocent for sure but it can be safely said that Yameen threw Adeeb under the bus when he felt cornered and threatened by how much information Adeeb has on him.

Even the presidential speedboat blast looked like a big conspiracy that was planned to sacked Adeeb. Till to this day its unclear why would someone who with an intention to kill the President would risk so much just to make a fail attempt.

When Mohamed Nasheed gets bombed, he suffers major injuries, undergoes 16 hours of surgery for injuries to his head, chest, abdomen and limbs and when Yameen is bombed, he flees unharmed.

And ironically, the wife is the one who is implicated with minor scratches as she was seated in the place where Yameen would always sit, another coincidence.