Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor has pleaded guilty to the seven charges raised against him in connection to the money laundering case involving Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
During Wednesday’s arraignment hearing, the Criminal Court accepted the plea deal between the ex-VP and the Prosecutor General.
Hassan Saeed, the judge presiding over the case also ordered for Adeeb to be kept in remand until the end of the trial.
While the former VP has pleaded guilty, a fast track hearing has been scheduled for next Monday.
The seven charges raised against Adeeb were two counts of involvement in corruption, two counts of using his position to gain undue benefits, two charges of money-laundering as well as an abuse of power charge.
State attorneys had detailed the reasons the charges were pressed against Adeeb, during Wednesday’s hearing, following which Adeeb pleaded guilty. The hearing also saw debates on both sides regarding the plea deal and Adeeb noted that he had not been under any coercion when he signed the plea deal and that he was in a sound mind when the plea deal was made.
Reflecting on his health, Adeeb also requested the judges to provide leniency to his sentencing.
The ex-VP noted that a number of individuals had benefitted from the MMPRC embezzlement and assured the state of full cooperation into recovering the embezzled funds.
Adeeb said that he is willing to cooperate with investigations as he believes that the incumbent administration wants transparent and sincere results.
Highlighting that the embezzlement does not end with him, Adeeb noted that the leasing of lagoons and islands was carried out under the instructions of the President’s Office and that he had not partaken in leasing islands, himself. As such, all of the transactions were conducted by the President’s Office.
Further, the ex-VP added that he had served as the Tourism Minister from 2012-2013 and that the bidding process for the leasing of lagoons and islands was carried out transparently, during his time in office. However, amendments were made to the MMPRC mandate during incarcerated former President Abdulla Yameen’s administration following which the procedure was amended.
Adeeb stressed that the embezzlement started from the USD one million and MVR 77 million that was acquired through Maldives Ports Limited (MPL), during the parliamentary elections of 2014.
In mid-July Criminal Court dropped the charges on the grounds that a plea deal signed between him and the state was “entered wrongfully”. This was done against the country’s constitution, said state prosecutors who have sought the Criminal Court to review them.
The court’s ruling claimed that Adeeb was “forced to sign the plea deals” in exchange for medical treatment. However, PG Hussain Shameem stated that this is untrue, owing to the fact that one of the two deals were signed upon Adeeb’s return from treatment abroad. The High Court ordered Adeeb to be remanded until the end of the appeal case against him, during July. Adeeb is currently detained at Maafushi Prison. The High Court’s decision to remand him until the end of his trial was based around the fact that Adeeb had attempted to flee earlier as well.