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Gayoom and son deny fresh coup accusations

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom started planning to overthrow the government in 2015, police spokesman Ahmed Shifan told the media in a surprise press conference.



Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his son Faris have denied fresh police accusations of an alleged attempt to overthrow the government.

Gayoom started planning to overthrow the government in 2015, police spokesman Ahmed Shifan told the media in a surprise press conference Sunday, after differences in opinion between him and his half-brother President Abdulla Yameen over Ahmed Adeeb’s appointment as vice president.

Police also showed the media a handwritten letter, alleging Faris sent it to his father through Yumna Maumoon, who is Gayoom’s daughter and Yameen’s niece.

“The letter advises on many things, like making economic activity in the Maldives difficult through the banks, making it difficult for Maldivians to get visas [to go abroad] and making it difficult to get basic necessities like rice, flour and sugar,” Shifan said.

A lawyer representing the jailed father and son duo, Maumoon Hameed, said there were inconsistencies in the accusations.

“What we are seeing now are attempts to influence the trial,” he told the Maldives Independent on Monday. “It is clear again that the police don’t have any evidence. There are many inconsistencies with their accusations. For example yesterday police said the coup had  been planned since 2015, but at court prosecutors say that it has been planned since 2013.”

Shifan also rattled off previous accusations made against the Gayoom family, accusing Faris of bribing lawmakers to impeach the parliament’s speaker and accusing Gayoom of bribing judges in order to issue the Supreme Court ruling of February 1.

While Shifan accused Faris of bribing lawmakers again, the prosecution’s key witness in his bribery trial retracted his testimony in March, saying he was not bribed to sign an impeachment motion.

Shifan said that evidence related to these allegations were found in a black suitcase.

The black suitcase was allegedly found in the home of Gayoom’s private secretary Najma Ibrahim, who was arrested in late January along with the former president’s bodyguard Mohamed Azmee.

Hameed questioned the reasons for prosecutors refusing to disclose key evidence at the trial when police were sharing the same evidence in press conferences.

“The information that police are sharing now after the trials have started is information that they wanted to be kept secret and heard at court as anonymous testimony,” he said. “Now we know that there was, in fact, no reason to keep this information secret. What we have said from the beginning is that police should disclose all the evidence that they claim to have and we will respond to each of them.”

— Luxury flats —

Shifan also alleged that Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim’s son, Ibrahim Siyad Gasim, was arrested for bribing Supreme Court justices with luxury apartments in Malaysia.

According to online paper VFP, it was alleged at Ibrahim Siyad Gasim’s remand hearing on Sunday that his father’s Villa company paid for the properties for the judges.

Authorities claim that a Villa letter found in Siyad’s apartment with his signature shows that the company agreed to provide US$2.4 million to the judges and the chief judicial administrator.

Siyad’s family has denied all the charges against him.

“My younger brother’s only crime is that he is Gasim Ibrahim’s son. My father’s [Gasim Ibrahim] crime is that he doesn’t support this government,” Siyad’s sister Khadheejaa Sana told opposition supporters earlier this month.

Lawmakers mocked the police allegations on Twitter.

MP Mariya Didi tweeted that the February 1 ruling also ordered the release of Adeeb at the same time as police were accusing Gayoom of planning to overthrow Yameen’s government over Adeeb’s appointment.

MP Rozaina Adam questioned why a handwritten letter by Faris would be left in a suitcase.

“Even if Faris sent such a letter, wouldn’t president Gayoom destroy the letter after reading it?” she tweeted.