15 March 2018

Of the $79 million pilfered from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), US$1 million ended up in President Yameen’s personal bank account. Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) parliamentary group leader Villimale MP Ahmed Nihan had earlier said that the money was held by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). On Wednesday, MP Nihan clarified that President Yameen “had not touched the money” and that it was planted there to “insinuate fraud” to potentially implicate the president. He said that jailed former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb had deposited the money into the President Yameen’s account.

Now that the President knows that the money does not belong to him why is he holding on to it, instead of passing it to the state?

The money was transferred to President Yameen’s account from a private company called SOF Pvt Ltd. Miharu reported.

Both Adheeb and the former MMPRC head Abdulla Ziyath have been convicted and sentenced to prison over the scandal. ACC has shelved the investigations as suspects to be questioned are hiding abroad.

On Tuesday, the Parliament passed a bill that states judges convicted of a criminal offence can be removed from office, without parliament’s involvement, after the appeal process has been completed.

The Parliament also passed another bill that penalises floor crossing and unseats a dozen ex-ruling party MPs, who were already previously disqualified. These legislations will enable the President to consolidate his power.

President Abdulla Yameen Wednesday ratified the above two bills. The opposition has made an appeal to the Supreme Court for a swift ruling to strike down the bills as unconstitutional.

Ten protestors including 4 MPs were arrested on Wednesday for organizing an anti-government protest. Opposition MPs, Mariya Ahmed Didi, Mohamed Ameeth, Ali Hussain and Faisal Naseem were arrested along with former environment minister Mohamed Aslam. Five female protesters who were pepper sprayed by the police at close range were taken to hospital with the help of Red Crescent volunteers.

The opposition is planning a mass protest on Friday with supporters expected to travel to the capital from across the country, amidst threats of license cancellation against fishing vessels that ferry protesters. Maldives Independent reported.

In another incident, the lawyer of detained Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed has accused police of planting a tape recorder under her chair to secretly record a private meeting with her client. Hisaan Hussain said that the officers at the police detention centre on Dhoonidhoo island were unable to provide an explanation when she showed them the red tape recorder.