Adeeb: No political party that hasn’t received embezzled funds

Former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor. (File Photo/President's Office)

Former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor said on Wednesday that there aren’t any local political parties that haven’t benefited from funds embezzled from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

At his arraignment hearing at the Criminal Court on Wednesday afternoon, Adeeb pled guilty to all seven charges pressed against him by the state in connection to the MMPRC embezzlement and money laundering case.

In a statement after entering his plea, Adeeb said that the corruption had been an organized scheme run by the previous government, and that many had receive funds in various ways under the scheme.

“The money financed through this scheme was spent politically on independent institutions at the time, the judiciary at the time, the parliament at the time, [and] many more. This case involves a lot of people, this case involves many beneficiaries. There isn’t a single political party that hasn’t benefited from this case. And this money was used in votes taken at the parliament and on everything,” he said.

Adeeb accused former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom of being the ringleader behind the corruption, and said that MMPRC had leased islands under the direct instructions of the President’s Office.

“This was run under a precisely planned, organized scam by the previous government with the involvement of many,” he said.

Adeeb said that the corruption should not have taken place, and that it is important that the system be redesigned to prevent such corruption from taking place again.

He said that he will continue to provide his full cooperation in the investigation into the case. He said that he has been sharing details of the recipients of the embezzled funds, and that the information he has shared has already been instrumental in identification of people who enjoyed illicit enrichment.

“With the cooperation I am providing, the state will be able to recover the funds and bring those involved to justice. Including I, myself,” he said.

He said that the state would not have had access to information regarding the corruption if he had not cooperated, and said he believed it to be his patriotic duty to share the information.

Adeeb said he wished for a just verdict based on his cooperation.

Speaking at the hearing, Adeeb praised the current government, and compared it to the previous government which he said had no intention of investigating the case and recovering the funds. He said that he believes the current government, in contrast, is operating in good faith. He said that the current government is doing sincere work, and that he is confident the government will recover the funds.

“The funds will be recovered through the ongoing efforts of the commissions established by this government, ACC, PG, and the police,” he said.

Adeeb said that he has already spent four to five years in prison on various convictions in connections to the case, and has developed major health complications during that time. He said that he had also repented to God during his time prison, and apologized to the Maldivian people for his part in the crime.

He faces 20 years in prison for the charges under the plea deal.

However, Adeeb asked for leniency in sentencing in light of his show of remorse and his cooperation, and asked additional time to renegotiate a lesser sentence with the state.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday, October 5.