Lawyer: Muizzu could have broken silence if shown alleged false statement

Male’ City Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. (Sun Photo/Naail Hussain)

 Male’ City mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu wouldn’t have had to exercise his right to remain silent during the investigation if he had been shown the false statement he is accused of making, states his lawyer.

The former housing minister was charged with providing a false statement in connection to a statement he gave on June 25, 2019, as a witness in the arbitration case filed by Noomadi Resorts and Residence AG (Noomadi) against the state.

Muizzu’s lawyer made the remark in response to a pretrial motion filed by the state.

The prosecutor pointed out that Muizzu had chosen to exercise the right to remain silent when questioned by investigators. The prosecution questioned the motive behind submitting evidence now, after having refused to make any comment during the investigation.

“Our client wasn’t shown the statement in question during the investigation. And he had no knowledge of the contents of the statement,” said Muizzu’s lawyer, during the Criminal Court hearing Thursday.

The lawyer said Muizzu had chosen to exercise his right to remain silent because investigators, in addition to refusing to show him the alleged false statement he is accused of making, also refused to share any details regarding the case.

“Even after remaining silent, Muizzu told Maldives Police Service he could provide additional details if he is shown the statement, after reading what it says,” he said.

The lawyer said that the request did not receive support from the police.

“Our client decided to reconsider his decision to exercise the right to remain silent after he reviews the statement and finds there was anything worth responding to,” he said.

The lawyer said Muizzu wasn’t shown the statement during any state of the investigation, denying him the chance to respond.

Thursday’s hearing was held to hear arguments regarding pretrial motions submitted in the case. The court will make its decision regarding the motions at the next hearing, which Judge Soffath Habeeb said would be held next week.

According to the charge against him, Muizzu had provided a false statement claiming Noomadi had implemented the housing project under the phase I agreement signed in 2011 and the phase II agreement signed in 2013 as scheduled and without any delays, and claiming he hadn’t been involved in discussions regarding repossessing Lh. Dhiffushimaadhoo, which had been leased to Noomadi to develop luxury villas.

Muizzu denies the charge.