Hearing in Yameen’s trial cancelled due to water leak in courtroom

Criminal Court of the Maldives on February 15, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The hearing scheduled for Monday morning at Criminal Court in the money laundering and bribery case against former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development has been cancelled over water leakage in courtroom.

Yameen was charged with money laundering and taking a bribe in connection to the case in November 2021. 

He is accused of misusing his position and taking a USD 1 million bribe to facilitate the sale of Aarah to Yoosuf Naeem, a former parliamentary representative for Felidhoo constituency, and laundering the money.

The state has also charged Naeem with giving the bribe.

Criminal Court said that the hearing in the case scheduled for 9:30am this morning was cancelled due to water leakage in the courtroom due to heavy rain.

“There was no way today’s hearing could proceed, that is why it was cancelled,” the court had said.

Hearings in Yameen’s trial are held at the biggest courtroom in Criminal Court, located in the building’s ground floor. This is as the number of attorneys involved in the case cannot be accommodated in any other courtroom.

Complaints regarding water leakage through cracks in the four-story building the Criminal Court is situated had previously surfaced as well.

The last hearing in Yameen’s case was held on August 23, when the court heard testimony from a British digital forensics examiner who extracted data from phones used as evidence in the case. Concluding the hearing, Judge Shakeel announced another hearing would be held at 9:30 am on August 30, to hear testimony from two more state witnesses.

However, the hearing was cancelled  as Judge Shakeel took family emergency leave.

The impending next hearing is expected to see testimonies from more state witnesses.

Key state witnesses who have yet to testify include former MMPRC managing director Abdulla Ziyath and former vice president Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor - both of whom have been convicted of charges related to the MMPRC corruption and money laundering scandal.

The court had previously accepted a motion by the defense to have both Ziyath and Adeeb testify the same day.