Former VP Adeeb travels overseas after presidential pardon

Former vice president Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor at the Velana International Airport on September 22, 2023. (Sun Photo/Maahil Athif)

Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb travelled overseas on Friday, after he was pardoned by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in his last week in office.

Sun is able to confirm Adeeb travelled out of Maldives sometime Friday. However, it is unclear where he went to, or if he has any plans of returning back home.

Both Adeeb and former MMPRC Managing Director Abdulla Ziyath – who were convicted of multiple corruption charges in connection to the MMPRC graft scandal – received presidential pardons last week.

The move sparked concern from rights watchdogs including Transparency Maldives and Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM).

The Transparency Maldives accused Solih of abuse of power, while the HRCM made an urgent appeal to revise the Clemency Act.

Adhaalath Party (AP), which had formed part of Solih’s coalition government, had also condemned the decision.

Adeeb, once the right-hand man of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, had been sentenced to 20 years in prison in October 2020.

He had pled guilty to seven charges under a plea deal with the state, which reduced the charges against him from 30.

After the plea deal, Adeeb, along with Ziyath, who also signed a plea deal, served as state witness in Yameen’s trial.

But despite the prison sentence against him, Adeeb had been under home confinement since 2020, based on medical grounds.

Meanwhile, Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison on money laundering and bribery charges in connection to the MMPRC graft case in December 2022. He was transferred from prison to home confinement after the new President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu won the presidential election in September. The conviction against him is being appealed with the High Court.

The MMPRC graft scandal – which involves the embezzlement of millions of US dollars in the sale of islands and lagoons leased for tourism – had hit international headlines, and had been the subject of an Al Jazeera documentary.

Solih had built his 2018 presidential campaign on the promise of investigating the case and recovering the stolen funds.