After raid, top tourism official questioned

After raid, top tourism official questioned
October 18 21:12 2015

The police questioned Abdulla Ziyath, the managing director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), for more than three hours today.

Ziyath was summoned to the police headquarters around 3:00pm and released around 6:30pm after taking a statement.

The police have so far declined to reveal the nature of the investigation, but a credible source told The Maldives Independent that he was questioned by officers from the economic crimes department.

The summons came after Ziyath’s apartment was raided on Wednesday night and the police searched the MMPRC offices on Friday night. His passport has also been withheld.

According to Sun Online, the police raided Ziyath’s apartment to seize devices used to covertly listen to phone conversations. The court warrant also reportedly stated that Ziyath possessed secret information gathered from hacking emails.

Police officers and soldiers meanwhile blocked staff from entering the MMPRC office this morning. The state-owned corporation is tasked with promoting the Maldives as a tourist destination.

A police spokesman said the shut down was connected to an ongoing investigation, but did not reveal details.

Ziyath is a close associate of Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, the former tourism minister. Suspicion has been cast on the vice president in an alleged attempt to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen.

The government says Yameen was the target of an explosion on the president’s speedboat on September 28. Three soldiers have been arrested in the ongoing investigation.

In a shakeup of the security services in the wake of the incident, the defence minister was sacked and the heads of the military’s special security force and the police intelligence department were replaced.

The home of an influential businessman related to the vice president was also raided on Friday night. The court warrant authorising the raid on the home of Hamid Ismail was issued in connection to the blast on the “Finifenma” speedboat

It authorised the seizure of CCTV camera footage and stated that police intelligence have learned of efforts to erase the footage and “destroy other evidence”.

The vice president is in China to inaugurate an investment forum. He has vowed to return to the Maldives. The “truth will be known” once a special inquiry commission finishes its investigation, Adeeb has said.

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