Judicial Service Commission (JSC) announced on Sunday that it will conduct an investigation into the allegation the judges involved in the money laundering trial against former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom were coerced to issue the conviction against him.
In a statement on Sunday evening, JSC said judges need to make fair and unbiased judgements. And that any allegations of interference and influence over the work of judges will therefore be investigated as a special priority.
The statement comes following the leak of an audio recording of on a conversation by Judge Hussain Faiz Rashad – one of the judges on the Criminal Court's five-member bench which issued the sentence against Yameen back in 2019 – in which he is heard telling a friend that the sentence was issued by holding the judges hostage.
Rumors have already surfaced of a similar audio recording of an additional judge.
Yameen’s trial was originally assigned to then-chief judge of Criminal Court Ahmed Hailam, but he was suspended at the last minute and a five-judge bench was established to hear the case. The other four judges on the bench, in addition to Faiz were, Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain, Judge Mohamed Sameer, Judge Ahmed Shakeel, and Judge Ali Adam.
Yameen was found guilty of laundering USD 1 million from the sale of GA. Vodamula by the Criminal Court on November 28, 2019. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined USD 5 million. Yameen promptly appealed the conviction with the High Court, which sided against him and ruled to uphold the original sentence on January 21, 2021.
He subsequently appealed the conviction with the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to begin appeal proceedings in September.