Police request new charges against ex-President Yameen in Aarah dealings

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)

Police have concluded investigations into the dealings of ex-President Abdulla Yameen regarding the leasing of V. Aaarah for tourism development and requested the Prosecutor General's Office to bring forth charges of money laundering and bribery against Yameen. 

The money laundering charges and charges of accepting bribes stem from the deposit of USD 1 million from the payments for the island to the personal account of the ex-President. 

The police investigation into the case was concluded last Tuesday and forwarded to the PG Office. 

V. Aarah was initially awarded to a local company but was later sold off to a foreign company. Yameen is accused of pocketing USD 1 million from the sale. 

He is still serving a five-year sentence after being found guilty of money laundering in 2018 in relation to the Ga. Vodamulla case. He was also fined by USD five million for pocketing USD 1 million from the acquisition costs of the island. 

Yameen's dealings in the lease of the island of R. Fuhgiri have also seen charges of money laundering and accepting bribes pressed against him.

There are also several other investigations against him by the authorities regarding various other islands which were part of the MMPRC scandal. Yameen is routinely summoned for questioning regarding his dealings in the islands. 

Ex-President Yameen was last night moved to house arrest from the Maafushi Prison where he was serving his sentence. Maldives Corrections said that the relocation was due to the spread of COVID-19 in the prison and that all high-risk inmates were being moved. 

The move to house arrest comes after Yameen's successor, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had stated just a few weeks ago that Yameen could be moved to house arrest and that he would not face any hardships. President Solih stated that discussions were underway for the move at the time. 

Opposition political parties PPM and PNC, who are allied to Yameen as well as the family of Yameen have long called for the move and labelled the conviction, trials and investigations into Yameen as a politically motivated sham.

It is also believed that the governing party MDP's leader Mohamed Nasheed who is a former President himself, and a close friend and ally of President Solih who belongs to MDP, also approved of the move during a breakfast meeting with President Solih yesterday evening. 

It was during the presidency of Yameen that the MMPRC scandal happened which is believed to have the involvement of a number of high ranking government officials, judges, current and ex-parliamentarians, police officers as well. Allegations have been made that Yameen and his Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb orchestrated the entire scandal and benefitted massively from it.