The criminal court in the capital of Maldives, named Male, ordered that Yameen be taken into custody following arguments by prosecutors during a hearing that he could make attempts to influence witnesses if he remained free.
Yameen has been charged for allegedly being involved with money laundering of embezzling funds from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation.
According to authorities, their investigation discovered $1 million in Yameen’s bank account and allege it is linked to a tourism development deal that leases public islands within Maldives, which is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean that is famous for its luxury resorts.
Current President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has now suspended a couple Cabinet ministers named Akram Kamaludeen and Ahmed Maloof. They are accused of having over $33,000 in each of their bank accounts linked to the same resort development deal.
Aishath Mohamed, a State lawyer, stated that documents revealed Yameen was attempting to influence witnesses by offering them money so they will change their statements.
Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam referred to the statements made by prosecutors, and ordered that Yameen will be kept in detention until the trial has ended.
Yameen made claims to the court that he did not know the people who testified against him and did not give anybody bribes. He also claimed he was unaware of the $1 million that was transferred into his bank account. Yameen says he contacted the Anti-Corruption Commission after finding out about the funds.
After a five year term as President, Yameen lost his re-election bid. He was accused of misrule and corruption during this time. Solih won in an upset and vowed to launch an investigation into corruption under the Yameen government.
Political opponents of Yameen were jailed in the dozens while Yameen was in office, including his half brother named Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. This was following trials which were heavily criticized for a lack of due process. Yameen’s half brother was released on bail one week after he was defeated.
Mohamed Nasheed, who is also an ex-President, and spend one year in jail because of a terrorism conviction under Yameen before he won political asylum in Britain, made a return to Madlives following the election defeat of Yameen. His conviction was annulled by the Supreme Court last November.
Nasheed is now one of the top Solih advisers, and a candidate in upcoming parliament polls this April. He said to AP that there is a separate investigation into suspicions of Yameen’s international money laundering.
According to Nasheed, he says the now debt-saddled Maldives government has asked China for a reduction of the more than $3 billion that it owes. Nasheed argues that some of the money went towards Yameen for “ill gotten wealth.”
Featured Image Credit: Former Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom (AP / Eranga Jayawardena, File)
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.