Aarah case: Yoosuf Naeem presents points of appeal

Yoosuf Naeem (L) speaks during a hearing at the High Court on June 7, 2023.

Former Felidhoo MP Yoosuf Naeem has presented the points for his appeal of the bribery conviction against him in the sale of V. Aarah for resort development.

Yoosuf Naeem was sentenced to three years in prison on December 25, 2022, after the Criminal Court found him guilty of offering a USD 1 million bribe to former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to facilitate the sale of Aarah. The same cause also saw an 11-year sentence issued against Yameen for money laundering and bribery.

Both Yameen and Yoosuf Naeem have appealed their convictions with the High Court.

While both were present at court Wednesday, the hearing focused on presentation of Yoosuf Naeem’s points of appeal, and counterarguments by the state.

The state had given detailed arguments to the points in writing, and highlighted their arguments again at the hearing.

Yoosuf Naeem’s attorney presented the points of appeal and asked the High Court to either overturn the conviction or order a retrial.

The state argued against the points and asked the court to uphold the original ruling.

At the next hearing, Yoosuf Naeem will present his counterarguments and Yameen will be given the chance to present his points of appeal.

The three-judge panel hearing the appeal is headed by Judge Hassan Shafeeu. He is joined by Judge Huzaifa Mohamed and Judge Mohamed Saleem.

The Criminal Court found Yameen took a USD 1 million bribe from Yoosuf Naeem and deposited it to his bank account at HSBC. He then transferred the bribe money and more to his account at the Bank of Maldives (BML), and a total of USD 1.29 million, including the bribe money, to his account at the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB), and invested total MVR 3.4 million for a duration of 36 months in an investment account at the same bank on March 14, 2021.