The Supreme Court has overruled the 2019 Criminal Court verdict that had sentenced former President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayyoom to a 5-year prison sentence and to pay a USD$ 5 million fine.
The former President had been incarcerated for more than 700 days.
The Supreme Court had issued a verdict overruling the Criminal Court case on the basis that the evidence brought against the former President by the State was weak.
The hearing, which ran for little over three hours, was presided over by a judicial panel headed by Judge Mahaz Ali Zahir.
Judge Mahaz had noted that due to the discrepancy that existed with regards to the cheque number as it appears on the cheque that had allegedly been used to deposit the funds from MMPRC to SOF Pvt Ltd and as it appears on SOF’s financial statement. Judge Mahaz stated that this discrepancy cast a doubt over the prosecution’s claim that the funds transferred to the appellant’s bank account by SOF Pvt Ltd were funds that rightfully belonged to the State.
Judge Mahaz stated that as the prosecution had provided no supporting evidence to corroborate the testimony given by former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and former Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation Ahmed Ziyath, their testimony would not be admissible as evidence against the appellant. Judge Mahaz had also noted that the State had not provided any evidence to support the claim that the appellant had called Ziyath with regards to the transferred funds.
Judge Mahaz expressed his “surprise” at the State’s decision to neither investigate SOF Pvt Ltd not press charges against the company.
The Supreme Court had pointed out that the State had built the Criminal Court case against the former President on weak evidence. The Court had also noted that no supporting evidence had been provided to corroborate the evidence.
The Supreme Court had also noted that the Criminal Court and the High Court had interpreted some of the evidence incorrectly. Judge Mahaz found that the lower courts’ admission of a short excerpt found within the appellant’s financial statement as evidence against him was done incorrectly, as per the law.
The judicial panel was unanimous in their decision to overrule the Criminal Court’s verdict against the former President.