Maldives former president sentenced to 11 years of prison

Abdulla Yameen, former president of Maldives is sentenced 11 years in jail by a court as he was found guilty in a corruption and money laundering case. A fine of USD 5 million is also imposed on him, according to the local media.

Yameen was found guilty of the charges by the criminal court, and Chief Judge Ahmed Shakeel stated that it is doubtful that the money that documentation indicate was transferred from Yoosuf Naeem’s account to Yameen’s personal account. In the nation’s largest-ever corruption scandal, former president Yameen was accused of taking one million dollars taken from state coffers.

As per the charges, Yameen accepted a bribe of USD 1 million from former MP Yoosuf Naeem, who is also being tried on bribery charges alongside Yameen.  Due to Yameen’s status as the country’s leader at the time of the crime, the prosecution requested the worst punishment possible for a conviction. The prosecution asked for a six-fold increase in the fine and 11 years in prison. But because the law allows for a maximum increase in the penalties of five times, the State asked to impose the highest fine permitted by the law.

Yoosuf Naeem was also found guilty of bribery in the judgement, and the prosecution demanded the maximum punishment for the former MP.

According to Aljazeera, Yameen is accused of receiving at least $1 million through SOF Private Limited, a business connected to his former deputy and used to launder tourism funds from the government-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

The sum was deposited in October 2015 into the former president’s individual bank account with the Maldives Islamic Bank.

Yoosuf Naeem and President Yameen’s attorneys requested ten days to request a hearing on the sentence. But soon after stating that the court will resume at 2:00 pm to determine the sentencing, the judge adjourned the case. According to Avas, he declined to give the defendants the time they sought.

Additionally, Yameen was previously found guilty of embezzling up to $1 million in government funds by utilising a private corporation in November 2019, following the conclusion of his 2013–2018 presidential term. However, the Supreme Court later overturned the five-year prison sentence in 2021.

The judgement was overturned by Yameen’s appeal against the prior court decision, which he claimed was due to a lack of independently substantiated ties between the private enterprise and his bank accounts.

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