Monday, 6 February, 2023
E-paper

'History comes full circle' for ex-Maldives President Yameen as court puts him in jail for graft

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 6th January, 2023 06:26:40 PM
  • Print news
'History comes full circle' for ex-Maldives President Yameen as court puts him in jail for graft
Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen

Male [Maldives], January 1 (ANI): Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison last month after he was found guilty of corruption and money laundering related to receiving payoffs from a private company.

In its verdict on December 25, the criminal court in the Maldives found Yameen guilty of the charges and said that the money deposited to Yameen's personal account from former parliamentarian Yoosuf Naeem's account was questionable, Avas, a Maldives-based newspaper reported.

"History has now come full circle for Yameen as the Maldives Constitution disqualifies any candidate convicted of criminal charges and sentenced to a term of more than a year unless they are later acquitted or a three-year period has elapsed since their release," the Maldives Voice publication said in its report.
Former president Yameen was accused of receiving one million USD stolen from state coffers in the country's biggest-ever corruption scandal, Avas reported. Yameen abused his position and took one million USD from a private company to facilitate the sale of Aarah for resort development.

According to the charges, Yameen accepted a bribe of USD 1 million from former MP Yoosuf Naeem, who is being tried on bribery charges alongside Yameen. The trial began at the Criminal Court on January 2, 2022, and hearings in the trial concluded on November 30, Avas reported.

Earlier in December, the prosecution sought the maximum penalty for the conviction due to Yameen's position as head of State at the time of the crime.

The prosecution requested 11 years in prison and a six-fold increase in the fine. However, as the law states that the fine can be increased up to five-fold at the maximum, the State requested to impose the maximum amount as a fine as under the law.

The verdict also found Yoosuf Naeem guilty of bribery, and the prosecution asked for the maximum penalty.

The charges against Yameen relate to claims he received at least one million dollars through SOF Private Limited, a private company linked to his former deputy, which was used to launder tourism revenues from the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Aljazeera reported.

The amount was deposited into the former president's personal bank account at the Maldives Islamic Bank in October 2015.

Before this, Yameen was convicted in November 2019, after his 2013-2018 presidential term, for embezzling up to USD 1 million in government funds using a private company. But, in 2021, the Supreme Court revoked the five-year prison term.

A local media outlet Sun Online said the verdict was cancelled by Yameen's appeal against the previous court ruling, in which he cited a lack of verified links between the private company and his bank accounts. (ANI)