13 July 2017, MALE: Former President Mohamed Nasheed has called for a thorough international investigation into allegations of corruption, money laundering, bribery and other crimes carried out by President Abdulla Yameen and his officials.
The call follows damning new testimony, given by former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb from his jail cell, which was made public on Wednesday 12 July. Adeeb’s testimony relates to the MMPRC scandal in 2015, when government officials stole some US$80 million of public funds.
In his testimony, Adeeb says that President Yameen pocketed some 80% of the stolen funds.
The testimony follows the airing of Al Jazeera’s documentary, Stealing Paradise, in September 2016. The documentary, which was based on evidence obtained in part from the contents of Adeeb’s laptop and iPhones, exposed President Yameen’s involvement in a plot to launder US$1.5 billion through the Maldives central bank. The documentary further catalogued President Yameen’s involvement in bribery, theft, fraud and other serious crimes.
In August last year, the New York Times described a Yameen-related corruption scandal, said to be worth some US$300 million, dating back to the early 2000s. Yameen, who was then a cabinet minister, reportedly corruptly sold oil to the Burmese military junta, in breach of Western sanctions. Half of the money from the sales reportedly disappeared.
Commenting on Adeeb’s new testimony, President Nasheed said:
“Adeeb has finally said publicly what everyone privately suspected: that the MMPRC theft was personally sanctioned by President Yameen, who was the chief beneficiary.
“President Yameen is supposed to be serving the Maldivian people but his administration is more akin to a crime syndicate.
“With such a huge body of evidence, we must now have a credible, international investigation into President Yameen’s wrongdoings. The investigation should be able to support a future criminal prosecution.”