MPs summoned to police after dumping fake dollars outside president’s residence

MPs summoned to police after dumping fake dollars outside president’s residence
February 14 11:48 2016

Opposition MPs Ahmed Mahloof and Eva Abdulla were summoned for questioning by the police over the weekend after the pair dumped fake dollar bills with President Abdulla Yameen’s face outside his private residence on Wednesday morning.

The MPs went to the police headquarters Friday afternoon wearing T-shirts with the president’s face on the dollar bill.

According to their lawyer Nazim Sattar, the pair is accused of engaging in “violent or threatening behaviour” and creating “a hazardous, physically offensive, or seriously alarming condition by an act that serves no legitimate purpose.”

The offence of “disorderly conduct” under  section 615 of the penal code is a class three misdemeanour that carries either a fine or a jail sentence of three months.

The MPs told reporters outside Galolhu Dhoovehi on Wednesday that their message to the president is that the opposition will not relent in its protest over Yameen’s alleged involvement in the embezzlement of nearly US$80 million from the state-owned tourism promotion company.

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Speaking to the press outside the police headquarters on Friday, Mahloof accused the president of ordering the police investigate the MPs and dismissed the disorderly conduct charges as “unfounded” and politically motivated.

Mahloof was also summoned for questioning at the police headquarters last week over claims of millions of dollars in the first couple’s private bank accounts.

The MP for Galolhu South claimed that the source of the information was a police officer involved in the investigation of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation corruption scandal.

Mahloof was expelled from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives in February last year after he publicly criticised Yameen.

He then began working with the opposition and was at the forefront of anti-government protests triggered by the imprisonment of former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim in early 2015.

Mahloof is also facing trial on a charge of obstructing police duty at an opposition protest in March last year. The first hearing of the trial took place last Thursday with Judge Ibrahim Ali presiding.

“In today’s hearing they presented the charges against me. In response, I requested the judge for a chance to appoint a lawyer, because all the lawyers to represent people like us are in a state of fear, with their lawyer’s license getting suspended and all,” he told reporters outside the justice building.

“The judge gave me three days and the next hearing is on 17th. Today, I am relieved and pleased with today’s hearing. We always say that in the court system, there are good people. Today I felt like there are people who listen to our words, and accepts our witnesses and defenses. I believe that in this case, with this judge, a ruling would be just; whether it is that I am guilty or that I am innocent. So, I am ready to proceed with this case even now.”

Additional reporting by Hassan Moosa.