The state is pressing charges against Ex. President Yameen and Yoosuf Naeem over the lease transaction of Aarah of Vaavu atoll, involved in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations (MMPRC) Corruption. Yoosuf Naeem is accused of offering a bribe of USD 1 million to Yameen so that Aarah could be leased to a company that Yoosuf Naeem has shares in. Yameen is accused of accepting said bribe and further laundering the money.
The long over due pending trial case has tried to pick up its pace in the recent days, but one or the other thing keeps occurring, stopping the trial from moving forward.
So far, this is what we know about the Aarah Case:
- 15th Sept 2015 Yusuf Naeem handed over a check of USD 1 million
- 16th Sept 2015 the money gets transferred into Yameen’s HSBC account
- 22nd Feb 2016 Yameen transfers USD 1 million from the HSBC account to his BML account
- 21st Feb 2017 USD 1,295,000 was then transferred to an MIB account from the BML account almost a year later
- 14 March 2017, USD 3,413,230 was then transferred to a general investment account at the same bank, MIB, for 36 months
Testimonies by the witness:
Ex V.P and former best buddy of Abdulla Yameen, Adeeb is standing as the witness testifying against Yameen. Along with him, taking the stand is Abdulla Ziyath former Managing Director of MMPRC.
Both of them remain adamant with their statements, indicating that Yameen was fully consciously aware of all these illegal deals happening with all due his permission and involvement in it. Adeeb even testified that when he was appointed as the Tourism Minister in 2012, Yameen had begun instructing him since then on how to get funds from island deals. This persuasion was so that Yameen could collect enough funds to run his 2013 Presidential election campaign. The purpose of the funds, Adeebs says served as modes to buy Mps off and bribe other officials and mostly for personal use as well.
The prosecution requested the judge to play an audio recording file that would back these claims made by Adeeb but the defense argued saying that since the case in question is from 2015, anything that happened prior to this should not be used as evidence to lead up to the case. Furthermore, the judge also agreed on the decision to not play the recording.
Abdulla Ziyath also testified on how Yameen manipulated the price of Aarah. He says while the original price was set at USD 5 million, on orders received by Yameen, price was lowered more than the standard price to USD 2 million.
Defense Witness testifies:
Abdulla Yameen from the very beginning has stood by his statement that the transaction between him and Yoosuf Naeem was made for the purchase and sale of dollars.
The state argues that there is no evidence submitted to support his statement. So Yameen’s legal team brought in the internet meme sensation of Maldives at the moment, Deputy Mayor of Malé City, Ahmed Naresh.
Ahmed Naresh as the defense witness in the case testified that he himself delivered the Maldivian Rufiya equivalent for USD 1 million to Yoosuf Naeem. Naresh said he counted the money before it was delivered to Yoosuf Naeem. Yameen then signed the document of purchase of dollars for MVR 15,420,000.
Netizens of Maldives trolled him for his exaggerated testimony and started calling as the fastest human currency reading machine.
Yameen requests to delay the trial:
After seeing the out-pour by the public, the trial scheduled for the next day was called off as Yameen reported in sick. Yameen’s lawyer also requested the trial to be re-scheduled to a later date. Former Felidhoo MP Yoosuf Naeem, who is charged with bribing Yameen, also requested for the same.
However, as some hearings have been canceled due to various reasons the state has requested that the trial against Yameen be held soon. Following the request, Criminal Court has scheduled a hearing in the case against former President Abdulla Yameen for Saturday, 10th Sept 2022.
The case has been long dragged, its high time that a clear verdict is made in this case. If proven guilty Yameen must be put behind bars.