Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has stated that there is no basis on which he can be convicted on the money laundering charges raised against him.
President Yameen was accused of defying the arrangement between himself and the Anti-Corruption Commission, which decreed that the former president must transfer funds suspected of being laundered through his Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) account to an escrow account between two parties.
While a private company titled SOF Pvt Ltd deposited two cheques totaling US$ 1 million into Yameen’s MIB account, the funds are said to be embezzled state funds to be obtained by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company as the payment of leasing islands for tourism purposes.
ACC directed Yameen to shift the deposited funds to the escrow account, yet President Yameen transferred US$ 1 million from his Bank of Maldives (BML) account rather than from the account in dispute. The transferred funds are reported to have been deposited by former Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer in President Yameen’s BML account.
In an effort to launder the money, Yameen was suspected of perpetrating the origins and track of the primary funds in his MIB account. The initial funds invested by SOF Pvt Ltd have been moved to the Maldives Islamic Bank investment account of President Yameen.
Speaking at a ceremony to welcome new representatives to the Maldives Progressive Party (PPM) on Wednesday night, President Yameen stated that his allies were anxious that he might be detained on charges. He advised members not to be worried about the case.
The former president claimed he owned a million dollars even before he became president, and there was no need for him to touch any money in the state treasury.
President Yameen said cases can be brought up when in power, by manipulating state entities. Alleging that the money laundering allegation against him was unfairly posed and false, Yameen said that if a fair trial is held, there is no scope to prosecute him.
“If a fair trial is conducted, I am untouchable. It is impossible. Yes, you can convict me. You can conduct trials. But anyone of sound mind and anyone who loves fairness and justice will not believe that someone against whom not a single finger was pointed in the last five years would do something like that for a mere 19000 dollars,” the former president said.
“My soul and spirit will be embarrassed to commit such an act. I am wealthier [than have to resort to such an act]. I want to continue to serve the citizens even more”, he said.
President Yameen argued that his prosecution was being skewed by the government. He said the Presidential Office’s Chief of Staff, Ali Zahir, had confessed to calling up judges.
“I have not heard before of ministers threatening witnesses to give their testimony in a trial in a certain way. These acts are being done by members of the religiously conservative party [Adhaalath Party] members”, said Yameen.
President Yameen further said that while no charges were made against him during his five-year tenure, fingers are already pointing to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, one year into his term. Yameen said that the current government does not have the ability to clear its reputation from the allegations.