9 December 2020.

The Criminal Court, on Monday, sentenced Former Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Abdulla Ziyath on Monday to 11 years of imprisonment. In November he confessed to 32 corruption charges under a plea bargain with the government. He alone was responsible for embezzlement of $ 50.7 million out of a potential total revenue loss of $260 million. Convicted of a corruption charge in 2016, he is currently serving an eight-year prison term.

During the trial Ziyath said on Thursday that the corporation’s funds were illegally transferred to other accounts under orders from former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. He said that the instructions from Yameen were over the phone. Yameen also told Ziyath to follow Adeeb’s instructions.

The state is pressing charges against Yameen for transferring MVR 1 million received from leasing of Vodamulla, Gaafu Alif Atoll to an SOF account and then to his personal bank account. SOF is owned by Mohamed “Moho” Allam Latheef, who is currently on the run.

During the court hearing Yameen tried to prove that SOF accounts could have received MMPRC funds legally. But Ziyath said that this was not the case. During the hearing, Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and President of Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) President Muaviz Rasheed testified against Yameen as well. The trial continues.

Maldives Police seized $58,500 in Maldives currency when they raided the house of Ishaq Hussain. The raid was related to explosion in the President’s speedboat in 2015. Police did not press charges against Ishaq Hussain. Police refused to return the money to him claiming that the money was stolen from MMPRC. Ishaq Hussain filed a case at the Criminal Court. The court deemed that it could not grant the release. The High Court’s verdict also noted that Ishaq was unable to prove that the funds were acquired through a business venture, adding that Ishaq had submitted documents that were previously undisclosed during the Criminal Court hearing and were thus inadmissible in the appeal process.