Criminal Court, on Sunday, has sentenced Yoosuf Naeem, a former parliamentary representative for Felidhoo constituency, to three years and two months in prison after being found guilty of bribing former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom during the sale of V. Aarah for resort development.
Yameen was charged with money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of Aarah – which took place during his administration.
He is accused of abusing his position and taking a USD 1 million bribe to facilitate the sale of Aarah to Yoosuf Naeem, a former parliamentary representative for Felidhoo constituency, and laundering the money.
The state has also charged Naeem with giving the bribe.
Both defendants were ruled guilty of the charges against them during a hearing this afternoon.
Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison for both charges against him this evening after the hearing resumed following a recess. Meanwhile, Yoosuf Naeem was sentenced to three years, two months and 12 days in prison.
The prosecution demanded an eight-year prison sentence for Yoosuf Naeem during the opportunity they were granted to talk regarding punishment.
Speaking regarding the punishment during his turn, Yoosuf Naeem’s lawyer Hamza Latheef stressed that the prosecution was demanding a harsh punishment. He requested a lighter punishment under the discretion granted to judges.
Pushing his request, Hamza underscored Yoosuf Naeem had no previous criminal record, nor had he been found guilty of any criminal offense. Hamza also emphasized on Yoosuf Naeem’s age, 52-years-old, citing he was sickly and physically weak.
“I request to convert half of my client’s sentence, or as I propose the larger portion, to home confinement,” he had said.
In addition to the request of home confinement – Hamza also requested a portion of Yoosuf Naeem’s sentence being converted to fine payment. On this note, Hamza said that although Yoosuf Naeem had the financial capacity to pay a fine, he was not wealthy enough for such an obligation to not impact his income.
“I note that my client receives MVR 150,000 in monthly income,” Hamza added.
The defense requested that Yoosuf Naeem’s sentence thereby be two cetegories lower than the general criteria – which amounts up to one year, seven months and six days. Out of this sentence – Hamza requested most of it to be served in home confinement, and conversion to fine.
The prosecution responded to the defense’s request, citing a High Court case which described home confinement as punishment for a defendant in similar circumstances as Yoosuf Naeem as a ‘mockery’.
“As the prosecution feels, a fine as a punishment in this case based on the amount of money involved will not be a fair punishment,” the state prosecutor said.