Lawyers: Documents on charges against Nihan unreadable

Former Vilimale' MP Ahmed Nihan Hussain at the Criminal Court on August 1, 2021. (Photo/Criminal Court)

Former Vilimale’ MP Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik’s lawyers said on Wednesday that some of the documents provided by prosecutors in the charges against their client are unreadable. 

Nihan, who served as PPM’s top parliamentarian back when the party had been in power, has been pressed with six charges; one count of money laundering, three counts of accepting a bribe, and two counts of asking for a bribe. 

In a hearing in the case at the Criminal Court on Wednesday morning, Nihan’s lawyers said that some of the soft copies of documents sent by the prosecution are unreadable, rendering them unable to formulate a proper defense. 

The lawyers said they have submitted a formal letter to the court over the issue. 

The lawyers also said that the CD of documents sent by the prosecution is inaccessible, and that the reference numbers of documents which they found unreadable were not mentioned in the CD cover. 

State prosecutors responded that the documents they have are readable, and that they shared the same documents with the defense. 

The prosecutors said they therefore found no reason to halt proceedings. 

The defense lawyers asked Judge Ali Adam to call a hearing to compare the documents with the prosecution and defense. 

Judge Ali Adam instructed the prosecution to submit hard copies of the documents to the court as soon as possible, and decided to suspend hearings until the issue can be resolved. 

He said that the next hearing will be to answer to the charges, and that both parties will be required to be present at the hearing. 

State prosecutors said they will submit documents to the court within three days. 

Nihan was charged with money laundering and bribery after investigators found he asked for and accepted bribes from former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor in exchange for influence over the decisions he made as Vilimale’ MP and chair of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, and kept and used the illegally obtained funds. 

The State said that none of the funds in question were disclosed in his financial statements between 2014 and 2019. 

Nihan has a travel ban against him pending the outcome of his trial, and the State has requested the court for the seizure of the funds he obtained through illegitimate means, along with any assets and other funds which may have been mixed with it.