Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom speaks at a press conference. Dhauru File Photo/Abdulla Yashau

Yameen complains on PG's 'unfair' access to state documents

"We are not getting it after we have made the request since there is no such document," Yameen said.

9 May 2023

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Monday expressed concern in the Supreme Court that he did not get the opportunity to obtain and submit the necessary documents from the state agencies to the court in connection with the charges against him.

Yameen said he did not have a level playing field to build his defence.

Yameen's trial has also begun at the Criminal Court in connection with the charges filed in a case related to the R. Fuggiri leased by MMPRC. The court refused to entertain some of the pre-trial submissions. The proposals also sought some documents from various state agencies. These include some documents from the President's Office, tourism ministry and MMPRC. 

The trial court rejected the submissions. Then:

  • Yameen challenged the Criminal Court's decision in the High Court, which also ruled against Yameen

  • Yameen and the co-accused in the case, Ahmed Krik Riza, appealed to the Supreme Court

In the last hearing of the appeal case in the Supreme Court on Monday, the state had argued that the documents should not be provided. The reason is that there are no other institutions in the definition of ‘state’ and under the law, only documents in the PG office and investigative agencies have to be given. The state said there were no such items as the audio and video recordings pertaining to some statements of the investigation as told by Yameen.

During the Monday hearing, the state's counsel Ahmed Shafiu submitted that under the Criminal Procedure Code and the Police Procedure Code, the audio/video recording of the interviews was mentioned while interviewing the accused in the case. He said the investigation team had recorded the statements of former vice president Ahmed Adheeb and former MMPRC managing director Abdulla Ziyath as evidence.

"There is no situation where (the law) requires them to record audio, video of their interviews. In the absence of the situation, we did not record the video/audio recording of the interview," Shafiu said.

Responding to his comments, Yameen said that the prosecutor general's office wanted to charge him in the island case and brought documents from the state agencies. However, he complained that he did not have the opportunity.

"They are also bringing documents from the top branches of the state when the prosecutor wants. Therefore, the prosecutor general's [office] claim that they can only give what they have is not entirely true," Yameen said in response to the state's lawyer's comments.

The letters mentioned by Yameen are those obtained by the President's Office to disprove the testimonies of some of the people presented on his behalf during the trial of taking bribes in the lease of V. Aarah.

Yameen said that while the state has alleged that Adheeb was instructed to rent out a particular island in a particular way, the state will examine whether there was any document that issued such a directive. No such document was submitted because, according to Yameen, there was no such document.

"This is the other charge built on bribery upon me [giving directions to Adeeb] by the PG. If they want to do that, then any reasonable human being will say that if the state wants to prove this against me, then they will try and check to see if the President's Office has any documents or any such gesture in any way," Yameen said.

If such a letter exists, if it was me or the president’s office who has given that kind of instruction, wont [the charges] be proved without even a trial? I can't believe that such documents will not be brought into the investigation."

Yameen reiterated that a "rational human being" would not believe that the state did not check whether such a document existed or not. If there is such a document, that it cannot be brought to the court, he said, adding that a "rational human being will not believe".

"We are not getting it after we have made the request since there is no such document," Yameen said.

"The documents I need to defend myself [to get them, I don't have the same access or right]. That's the state's document. If the state is denying it, where will it be obtained next? Where do I find it?"

Concluding the four-hour-long hearing, Husnu Suood, who was presiding over the bench, said this was the final hearing in the case and the next course of action would be the pronouncement of the verdict.

They hoped to take a decision on the matter by Monday next week, he said.

Apart from Suood, the other two judges on the bench are:

  • Justice Aisha Shujoon

  • Justice Dr Mohamed Ibrahim 

Yameen is charged with money laundering and accepting a bribe over the Fuggiri lease deal through MMPRC:

On February 14, the Criminal Court rejected Yameen's pre-trial submissions in the case. On Monday, the Supreme Court had ordered a stay on the proceedings till Monday.