Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s office in Malé was raided Sunday over official documents alleged to have gone missing from the Progressive Party of the Maldives’ former headquarters.
President Abdulla Yameen’s faction of the divided ruling party had cleared out the PPM’s office at Henveiru Thema after the civil court stripped Gayoom of his powers as the party’s elected leader and put Yameen in charge.
Gayoom set up the office of the PPM president at Thema.
The police raided the office on Sunday night after the Yameen faction filed a complaint alleging that hard drives from five computers, the party’s membership database, and additional documents were missing.
The hard drives of four other computers were also erased, they claimed.
The search warrant, which Gayoom shared on Twitter, said the police were looking for evidence in the case.
Gayoom was presiding over a council meeting of his faction when the police arrived to search the building.
Police searched my PPM office under a court order tonight during a council meeting. We cooperated with them. pic.twitter.com/ZVFTzDqITg
— Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) November 6, 2016
Abdul Aleem, the Gayoom faction’s secretary-general, and Fathmath Shaheedha, the PPM’s assistant registrar, were meanwhile summoned to police headquarters on Sunday, and interrogated over the missing documents.
Aleem’s phone was confiscated for a three-month period, and the police raided his apartment in Galolhu Ufuriya.
Aleem told local media that he was “100 percent sure” that all of the PPM’s property, including hard disks and documents, were taken by the Yameen faction.
He dismissed the allegation that Gayoom loyalists could have removed documents and formatted hard disks.
Anti-Gayoom graffiti and insults were meanwhile found scrawled on Thema’s walls after Yameen’s supporters moved all of its furniture, computers and documents to a new office on October 28.
Riot police had set up barricades blocking Gayoom supporters from entering the building.
Moosa Zameer, the tourism minister and deputy leader of Yameen’s faction, later attempted to hand over keys to the building’s owner, who refused to accept them.
The landlord opened the office in the presence of Gayoom faction officials and the press last week.
“Legitimate PPM got our office premises back today. But mere walls. All our office equipment had been taken away,” Gayoom tweeted.