Impeached Vice President Ahmed Adeeb is now facing prosecution on charges of possessing illegal weapons and bribing police officers into divulging state secrets, the police have said.
Chief Superintendent of Police Hamdhoon Rasheed, speaking to the press shortly before the impeachment, said: “We are investigating two cases against the vice president. The first is, Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor attempted to exert undue influence and bribe some police’s intelligence officers into divulging state secrets and to make use of their skills for his personal benefit.
“The second: … members of the public have shared information with us, and some have given us statements that Adeeb possesses a pistol at his apartment. Both cases will be sent for prosecution within a few days.”
Adeeb is being held on suspicion of links to an explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat.
An FBI investigation found no evidence of an explosive device, but the government insists the blast was caused by a bomb targeting the president.
Yameen has previously accused his deputy of obstructing the inquiry into the boat blast, while the foreign ministry said Adeeb’s arrest was necessary to “protect the integrity” of the probe.
The police today said security camera footage seized from Adeeb’s residences show police officers meeting him in the middle of the night. Police intelligence reports have also been seized from his properties in raids.
“CCTV footages shows senior police officers often visited Adeeb at his apartment. A number of police officers have also admitted to being approached and bribed by Adeeb,” Rasheed said.
The president has also ordered an audit of the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), a company under Adeeb’s watch that was in charge of leasing islands for tourism.
The anti-corruption watchdog is also investigating corruption in the lease of islands for tourism.
The security forces also said they have seized a number of weapons in the ongoing raids.
The largest cache was discovered on an island leased for resort development, and includes at least two firearms missing from the state armoury. A bomb, reportedly found near the presidential palace, was also safely defused on Monday, the army said.
In declaring the state of emergency, Yameen said he had received confirmed reports of imminent attacks. There are a lot more weapons missing, he said.
The police have also said they are certain of illegal weapons in the Maldives because they had found photos on the phones of some individuals arrested over the boat blast.
The photos, displayed at a press conference at 11pm on Wednesday, show a large number of bullets and materials used in setting off fireworks.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Abdulla Nawaz declined to reveal details, and refused to answer questions on why the security forces have made no arrests over the bomb found near the presidential palace.
Nawaz also refused to comment on whether individuals who planted the bomb had been caught on CCTV cameras in the area.
At least 12 people have been arrested over the boat blast. Nawaz said the police are confident that the cache of weapons is linked to the suspects.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has described the state of emergency as “disproportionate” and “a desperate attempt, by a president who is losing his grip, to cling onto power.”
Reporting by Hassan Mohamed and Mohamed Saif Fathih. Writing by Zaheena Rasheed