Ziyath: Cheques worth of MVR 239 million was handed over to Adheeb

Abdulla Ziyath, charged with embezzlement, has said that the cheques worth MVR 239 million from the two lagoons and six islands leased by the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) was given to then Tourism Minister, Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Gafoor.

Criminal Court scheduled a hearing in the 15 counts of embezzelment against Ziyath this morning at 10 a.m.

At the hearing today, the state deliver eight charges separately against Ziyath in the embezzlement of the money gotten from the leasing of two lagoons and six islands.

Ziyath pleaded not guilty to all counts. His legal representation, Ahmed Yameen said that Ziyath accepted the cheques and as per the Tourism Minister's orders, passed it on to the Minister with the proof of payments with no intention of embezzlement.

Lawyer Yameen said that the cheques were addressed to the MMPRC and would be only deposited to the MMPRC account. But the cheques were deposited to an account of SOF company.

The prosecution presented handover documents regarding the leased islands and lagoons at the hearing today along with closed door witnesses.

Referring to the charges, Judge Ali Adam decided that it could continue as civil suits and gave a 30 day period to submit the pre-trial documents from both sides.

Today's hearing was held in two sessions but Ziyath attended the second session without his lawyer. When the judge asked as to why that is, Ziyath said that the lawyer went to another trial and want to continue with his lawyer. And so the second session has been set for 7 p.m. tonight.