Ex-President Yameen's appeal hearing nears end, sentencing remains

Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is escorted back to Maafushi Prison following his hearing at the High Court on July 8, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Appeal hearings of former President Abdulla Yameen in the High Court has been concluded today.

Yameen, was found guilty of money laundering in the acquisition costs of G. A. Vodamulla, related to the massive MMPRC scandal. He was sentenced to five years in prison with a fine of USD 5 million by the Criminal Court in late last year. 

In the appeal hearing of the case held in the High Court today, both the Prosecution and the defense presented their summary statements. If there was nothing else to be clarified, the judge's bench will then announce its verdict in the next hearing. 

Yameen also spoke in today's hearing in addition to his lawyer, former Vice President Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed. Dr. Jameel argued that the case was not proven beyond reasonable doubt against his client. He argued that Yameen was not questioned regarding the transactions related to Vodamulla during the investigation. Dr. Jameel said that his client was charged with a case that was not investigated. 

Dr. Jameel said that it did not make sense how the USD 1 million deposited by the SOF company into Yameen's account was unlawful when no authority could label the company as unlawful. Dr. Jameel said that no one else had been charged in relation to transactions made with the company and questioned why his client was the only one to be charged with. 

Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and Managing Director of MMPRC Ibrahim Ziyath had provided statements against Yameen in last year's trial. Dr. Jameel labeled both as enemies of Yameen and that there was bad blood by them towards his client, which is why they provided the statements. 

After Jameels' statements, Yameen then spoke at the hearing. Yameen said that the verdict was not the result of his actions and that he would fight in his defense. 

He also questioned the statements by Ziyath and Adeeb. Yameen said that both individuals could not connect him with Vodamulla and that statements by them could not be accepted after the deals made by the state with both individuals. Yameen said that both of them were now influenced unfairly.

Speaking in today's hearing, State Prosecutor Ahmed Naufal said that Yameen had stated he had no recollection of the SOF company and that it was impossible for Yameen to use the money he had received from an unknown source. The prosecution maintained the stand that USD 1 million was the acquisition cost of Vodamulla and that the money was deposited to the account of Yameen through undue influence.