Former MMPRC managing director Abdulla Ziyath – who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for embezzlement – has been transferred to house arrest.
Ziyath was pressed with 32 charges for diverting funds for the lease of islands and lagoons for tourism to the bank account of private business SOF Private Limited instead of MMPRC.
He signed a plea deal with the State, and was issued a lesser sentence of 11 years in prison by the Criminal Court on December 7, 2020.
Ziyath, who was already serving an eight-year prison sentence for separate charges in connection to the MMPRC graft scandal, was serving his time under house arrest at the time of his sentencing in December. Maldives Correctional Service stated he was transferred back to Maafushi Prison after he was issued the 11-year sentence.
However, he has been transferred back to house arrest.
Maldives Correctional Service’s spokesperson told Sun Ziyath was transferred to house arrest on January 12 “in light of his health condition”.
Ziyath was originally arrested in connection to the MMPRC graft case on August 23, 2015 - during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration. He was found guilty of embezzling the money received as acquisition cost for Lh. Maabinhura and sentenced to eight years in prison on June 23, 2016. However, he was transferred to house arrest on February 9, 2019, and wasn’t transferred back to prison until he was issued the 11-year sentence last year.
Former Vice President and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor, who also played a key role in the embezzlement, is also serving his sentence under house arrest. Adee also signed a plea deal with the State, and was issued a lesser sentence of 20 years in prison by the Criminal Court on October 5, 2020. However, he too, is serving his sentence under house arrest “in light of his health condition”, and currently resides in an apartment at the luxury residential complex Amin Avenue in suburban Hulhumale’.
The State is estimated to have lost over MVR 3 billion in the MMPRC graft scandal, prompting criticism against the Prosecutor General’s Office for cutting deals with Adeeb and Ziyath to allow them to be let off with lesser sentences.
The Prosecutor General’s Office signed the plea deals with Adeeb and Ziyath in exchange for information regarding other suspects involved in the scandal. Both testified against former President Yameen during his money laundering trial, and have been named as witnesses in other corruption trials.