Yameen arrives at a Supreme Court hearing. Dhauru Photo/Hussain Sunain

Yameen's appeal delay blocks $5m fine recovery

The case was filed in the Civil Court on August 13, the day the High Court issued the stay order.

9 November 2023

By Fathmath Ahmed Shareef

The Civil Court has ruled that the USD 5 million fine ordered to be paid with the 11-year prison sentence awarded to former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom could not be recovered at this time as the appeal against his conviction in the MMPRC graft case was not completed and an order was issued to halt the payment of the fine until a decision was reached in the case.

Yameen was convicted of bribery and money laundering on December 25 in the V. Aarah lease case. The Criminal Court ruled:

  • Four years in prison for bribery

  • A seven-year prison sentence with a USD 5 million (MVR 77 million) fine for money laundering

Yameen's lawyer appealed the two sentences on February 23. The court has sought an order to stay the payment of the fine until a decision is taken on the case. The High Court issued an order on August 13 postponing the payment of the fine.

  • If an order is issued to pay the money before a decision is made on the appeal, the administration of justice may be obstructed

  • If any case is filed in court to recover the money, the case has been ordered not to proceed

  • No government agency has been asked to make any efforts to recover the money

The deadline for payment of the fine expired in June last year. The Attorney General's (AG) office filed a case in the Civil Court after Yameen's candidacy case in the Supreme Court.

The case was filed in the Civil Court on August 13, the day the High Court issued the stay order.

The Civil Court ruled in this case on Wednesday:

  • The High Court has issued an order not to attempt to recover the fine from any state agency and not to proceed with any case filed in court

  • There is no estimated date for the completion of the case in the High Court

  • If the High Court rules against the prosecution, the prosecution will have the opportunity to appeal against the enforcement of the sentence

"There is no need to keep the case in the Civil Court until the High Court decides on the matter. Therefore, the High Court has issued an order to stay the fine until a decision is taken on the case pending in the High Court," the judgment said is the source.

It is noteworthy that Yameen lost his chance to contest the last presidential election on behalf of the PPM-PNC due to his jail sentence and fine in the Aarah case.

During hearings at the Supreme Court on the candidacy case, Yameen said that the high court judges had initially said that they would take an early decision on the case after an appeal in the high court, adding that he was hoping that a decision would be taken before the expiry of the fine. Yameen had said at the time that he had hoped that with the high court's verdict, he would be acquitted of payment of fines as well as imprisonment.

However, the hearings in the High Court have now been delayed again as some of the judges of the bench are on leave.