Saturday 15th Jun 2024
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President Yameen's Court Case

Aarah case: state’s witness claims no knowledge on case

A key witness produced by the state has claimed no knowledge on the sale of Aarah island in Vaavu atoll.
Opposition leader former President Abdullah Yameen is charged with money laundering and bribery charges in the sale of the island.
The state’s witness, the then head of Tourism Ministry’s Legal Department, had revealed some of the details of the procedures used by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) in the sale of islands and lagoons. As such, he said that if a lagoon or an island is to be leased, then a letter would be sent out to the President’s Office by the Ministry to be listed in a ledger for sale.
Responding to a question from the state’s lawyers, he admitted that out of all, around four islands were leased without listing on the ledger. He further said that islands and lagoons are leased once an investor sends in a letter of interest.
He said that while the investor would send in a letter, there was no system or committee within the Ministry that would review the proposal. The decision to award the island or lagoon, he said, was at the discretion of Ahmed Adeeb, who was then serving as the tourism minister.
As such, he added that there was no certainty that the prices set in the offer letters submitted by the investors and the prices set from the same were the same. The witness further added that he had advised the Minister on two occasions, after it became clear that there were differences in prices for two islands of the same size.
The defense lawyers asked if the witness had seen any letters that had requested the transfer of the islands and lagoons to the ledger either from the President’s Office or the Tourism Ministry. The witness testified that he had not seen such a letter.
The defense lawyers also asked if he had knowledge if an offer letter was issued on the sale of Aarah island. He said that he was on holiday at the time of Aarah lease and therefore, had no knowledge if an offer letter was issued.