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ACC chief testifies against Yameen in money laundering trial

Summary

The second hearing in former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s money laundering trial is scheduled to begin at the Criminal Court at 10:30 this Sunday.

The court will hear testimony from State’s witnesses.

State’s witnesses:

  • Former President of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Hassan Luthfee
  • President of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Muawiz Rasheed
  • Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor
  • Former Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer
  • Former Managing Director of MMPRC, Abdulla Ziyath
  • Bank of Maldives (BML) Board Director, Mohamed Luwaiz
  • Bank of Maldives (BML) deputy CEO, Mohamed Shareef
  • Mohamed Waseem Ismail
13:46

Hearing is concluded without announcement of the next trial date.

13:05

The defense’s cross-examination of Muawiz focused mainly on issues with the statement obtained by ACC of Yameen’s bank account. They asked the State to clarify why the fingerprint is missing, and how the investigators obtained its statements.

12:52

State prosecution is found to have failed to share a report and bank account statement it has entered as evidence with the defense. Judge Hailam announces the defense will be allowed to cross-examine the witness regarding the documents in question at another hearing.

12:27

President Yameen opened an investment account at Islamic Bank and diverted the money which was deposited to his account to it.

Muawiz

12:23

MMA sent a STR [Suspicious Transaction Report] to ACC. It says the money to the escrow account at BML was deposited by former Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer. And that the money was sent to Zameer’s account by someone called Waseem.

Muawiz

12:21

Muawiz says that the agreement between ACC and Yameen for the escrow account stipulates that the money deposited to the escrow account be the USD 1 million in Yameen’s MIB account.

11:54

Muawiz testifies that the ACC faced difficulties in obtaining bank account statement from Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) for its investigation into the USD 1 million deposit to Yameen’s bank account.

He says the ACC later obtained the statement through the President’s Office, and later received it from MIB.

Muawiz testifies that the ACC informed Yameen that a large volume of embezzled State funds went into SOF’s bank account, and that the commission believes the USD 1 million deposited by SOF to Yameen’s bank account to also be embezzled funds.

11:52

Muawiz enters the courtroom. Public Prosecutor Aishath says there is no legal grounds why Muawiz’s testimony should not be taken and begins the questioning.

11:37

COURT TO HEAR TESTINOMY FROM ACC PRESIDENT

Court announces it will hear testimony from only one State witness this Sunday; the President of ACC, Muawiz Rasheed.

The defense voices protest against testimony from Muawiz.

11:14

DEFENSE NAMES FORMER CHIEF OF CENTRAL BANK AS WITNESS

Defense Attorney Shah names former Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), Azeema Adam as a witness for the defense.

He enters a press statement by MMORC as document evidence.

11:14

Defense Attorney Shah questions whether any institution has established SOF Private Limited to be a money laundering company. He also asks the State to clarify whether SOF’s bank accounts held any money other than alleged embezzled funds from MMPRC.

Public Prosecutor Aishath Mohamed responds that the State does not require any institution to establish SOF as a money laundering company in order to file a charge.

11:10

Attorney Siyaz questions the credibility of testimony of some of the State’s witnesses. He says statements show the witnesses were being coerced.

Judge Hailam responds that the court has already ruled to accept testimony from the State’s witnesses. He says the court will make its decision into account, if any such circumstance arises, when it reviews testimony.

Judge Hailam instructs the defense not to discuss matters already settled during pretrial stage.

11:08

Attorney Siyaz says the defense has filed a motion asking the trial to be overseen by a bench of judges.

Judge Hailam questions him why the defense wishes to change the presiding judge.

Attorney Siyaz responds that there is an open probe against Judge Hailam at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). He says the membership of JSC is made up of politicians, and there is therefore room for Judge Hailam to be politically influenced regarding the court proceedings.

Judge Hailam responds that lower courts do not use bench of judges at its trials. He says a bench of judges may be composed at the Chief Judge’s discretion, but that he finds no grounds to take such action.

11:08

Judge Hailam says the defense was informed of the court’s decision to telecast the trial prior to the beginning of the trial. He says the decision was made based on a policy established by the council of judges. He says the court does not believe it is an infringement on the rights of anyone. Judge Hailam says the court has established an internal policy regarding the issue.

11:01

11:01

YAMEEN’S ATTORNEYS RAISE PROCEDURAL MOTIONS

Defense Attorney Shiyaz presents procedural motions. He points out alleged irregularities in the witness forms. He accused the court of selective treatment against Yameen. He says the court has not disclosed its policy regarding the live telecast of Yameen’s trial.

10:56

Judge Ahmed Hailam enters the court room at sits at the bench. He announces the beginning of the hearing.

10:54

Yameen has arrived at the court.

10:46

YAMEEN’S SUPPORTERS GATHER OUTSIDE COURT

A crowd of Yameen’s supporters have gathered outside the Criminal Court. They include senior officials from Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC).