Vice president’s associate, former minister arrested in Malaysia

Vice president’s associate, former minister arrested in Malaysia
October 28 21:01 2015

Hamid Ismail, an influential businessman related to jailed Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, and Mohamed Hussain Shareef ‘Mundhu,’ former presidential affairs minister, have been arrested in Malaysia on suspicion of links to a plot to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen.

A credible source has confirmed to The Maldives Independent that the pair were arrested from an apartment in Malaysia.

The Maldives Police Service said Hamid was arrested today in a joint special operation conducted with the Malaysian police, but did not mention the arrest of the former minister.

A police spokesperson declined to provide any details or comment on arrangements to bring Hamid back to the Maldives.

The vice president was arrested on Saturday on charges of “high treason” over the alleged assassination attempt. The government says an explosion on the “Finifenma” speedboat on September 28 was caused by a bomb targeting the president.

Police officers raided Hamid’s residence in Malé on the night of October 16. The court warrant authorising the raid was issued in connection to the blast on the speedboat.

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

At the time of the raid, Hamid was accompanying Adeeb in his official visit to China and was photographed in meetings with Chinese government officials. He also participated in the Maldives investment forum with the vice president.

Shareef had also accompanied the vice president during the visit. He resigned a day after returning from China after being told to stay home. The resignation came amid a purge of the vice president’s supporters from the government in the days before his arrest.

Hamid is the president of the Maldives national chamber of commerce and industries.

Adeeb had meanwhile delayed his return after the police raids on the homes of his close associates. He went to Singapore from Beijing and was arrested upon his arrival at the Malé international airport.

In his public address since the blast on the speedboat, Yameen said on Sunday that his deputy was obstructing the investigation into the alleged assassination attempt by exerting undue influence over the police force.

He revealed that “bomb-making materials” were found in the homes of three soldiers arrested on suspicion of tampering with evidence. The three soldiers were explosives experts who inspected the speedboat immediately after the blast.

Yameen said that the police have established links between the suspects and Adeeb’s bodyguards.

Adeeb, however, denies any involvement in the boat blast. His lawyer Hussain Shameem insists there is no evidence to keep the vice president detained, except a secret police intelligence report.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has meanwhile submitted a motion to the parliament to impeach Adeeb with 52 signatures, just five short of the 57 votes needed to remove him from the post.

Adeeb has also been expelled from the PPM. He was the party’s deputy leader.

This article was updated at 9:30pm to include the arrest of Mohamed Hussain Shareef.