Opposition asks PG to launch an independent investigation on the leaked audios

The opposition PPM-PNC coalition stages a rally in Male' City on February 12, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Opposition coalition has sent a letter to Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem – requesting to launch an independent investigation over the alleged audio recordings of three of the judges on the Criminal Court bench which convicted former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom of money laundering in 2019.

The letter detailed that the opposition coalition had always said that Yameen’s conviction had been unjust – whereas the leaked audio recordings of three of the judges presiding over the case pointing towards their decision being influenced – is a clear indication of that.

Additionally, the opposition coalition also called on to conduct forensic analysis of the audio recordings in order to verify the validity and the reliability of the judgment. They also requested the Prosecutor General to launch an independent investigation over the matter.

“The coalition sees that this needs be done prior to the conclusion of Yameen’s ongoing appeal case at the Supreme Court – hence the coalition request that the matter be expedited,” the letter also read.

Yameen’s trial was presided by a five-member bench; Judge Hussain Faiz Rashad, Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain, Judge Mohamed Sameer, Judge Ahmed Shakeel, and Judge Ali Adam. 

Alleged audio recordings of conversations by three of the judges - Hussain Faiz Rashad, Ali Adam, and Mohamed Sameer - went viral on Sunday, in which they make comments suggesting the trial was influenced.

In one of the audio recordings – reportedly of Faiz – he says that the sentence against Yameen was issued by holding the judges hostage.

Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which opened an investigation into the audio recordings last Monday, said that the three judges, when questioned, said that the audio recordings were fake and that they did not make such allegations.

The other two judges also denied the allegations made in the audio recordings.

Voice samples have been taken from three of the judges – and JSC had requested the police to conduct an analysis of it.

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, where the appeal case is currently ongoing.

Yameen was serving his sentence in Maafushi Prison, but was transferred to home confinement following an outbreak of COVID-19 at the prison in April.