Criminal Court of the Maldives has scheduled to hear the testimonies of former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and former Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations (MMPRC) Abdulla Ziyath for the Aarah case on August 30.
The court initially scheduled Ziyath’s testimony for August 15, but at the hearing, former President Abdulla Yameen’s attorneys requested that he testify on the same day as Adeeb to prevent them from conspiring to validate each other’s claims. In response, the state attorneys stated that the defence was already aware that the witness testimonies are scheduled for different days and had not previously objected. The state attorneys, however, said they do not object to Ziyath and Adeeb testifying on the same day.
At the hearing, the presiding judge asked the state attorneys whether Adeeb could be summoned to the court on that day and the attorneys responded by saying that it would be difficult to immediately summon him, as he is in prison. The judge concluded the hearing after scheduling Ziyath and Adeeb’s testimonies for August 30, 0930hrs. Witness testimonies are also scheduled to be taken on August 18 and 23, during which two witness will be testifying through foreign embassies.
The last testimony was heard from Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim, who used to be a close associate of Yameen. Nazim claimed that the former president used the funds embezzled from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) to repay loans taken for his presidential campaign in 2018.
Former President Yameen is accused of accepting USD1 million as a bribe during the lease of Aarah through MMPRC and laundering the money. Former Parliamentarian Yoosuf Naeem has also been charged with bribery in the lease of Aarah.
Aarah had been leased to a private company when it was taken back and handed over to Felidhoo Island Council in 2015. The island was later handed over to a company called 2G Maldives, before leasing the island again to a foreign company. The embezzlement of funds acquired from the lease of Aarah was uncovered during the investigation of the corruption scandal of MMPRC.