22 March 2018

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged nine people at the criminal court. Those charged included Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, former President, Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed; four lawmakers including Gayoom’s son; and a former police commissioner. The first three were charged with obstruction of justice  and of refusing to hand over their phones to investigators. Saeed, Hameed and another judicial officer were charged with receiving bribes to help overthrow the government. Criminal Court on Wednesday remanded former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the Supreme Court chief justice until the end of the trial.

The island nation plunged into a turmoil after the Supreme Court on 1 February ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared state of emergency, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and had the supreme court order revoked. Events happened so fast that now president Yameen will want to cling on to his post at any cost, otherwise the tables will be turned on him. Had former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom been in power he also would have reacted in the same manner.

Former president, Mohamed Nasheed, was among the prisoners named in the court order. This means that he cannot contest the presidential election scheduled for later this year and Yameen is now poised to run for re-election virtually unopposed.

The state of emergency was lifted on Thursday by President Yameen.

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) revealed that it has begun investigating the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) deputy leader and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdullah and his wife over allegations of the couple purchasing two apartments from the new ‘Rehendhi-6’ in the capital Male, worth over MVR 9 million.

In its annual report, the ACC pointed out that Prosecutor General’s office and other state institutions are either delaying or not taking any action on the cases referred to them by ACC.

Several Maldivian Democratic Party members detained under emergency powers were released without charge on Wednesday ahead of the expiry of the 45-day state of emergency on Thursday night. The opposition estimates around 60 people were arrested without warrants after President Abdulla Yameen declared the state of emergency on 5 February.