The police have reacted angrily to claims that former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb is no longer a suspect in the September 28 blast on the president’s speedboat.
Adeeb’s lawyer Hussain Shameem had said yesterday that the police have confirmed that he has been cleared of suspicion over the alleged attempt to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen. Shameem said the police informed lawyers that Adeeb is now only accused of corruption over missing funds from resort leases.
But the police said in a statement last night that the boat blast probe is still ongoing: “The Maldives Police Service has not informed anyone of any changes to the charges against Ahmed Adeeb related to that case.”
The police noted that Adeeb’s trial on corruption charges began after his arrest in late October on suspicion of masterminding the alleged bombing. The judge had then ordered the police to keep him in custody until the trial concludes.
Adeeb’s detention on corruption charges does not mean that he is no longer a suspect in the ‘Finifenma’ boat blast, the police stressed.
The police also condemned Shameem for making “false” and “misleading” claims and threatened to take legal action against the former deputy prosecutor general.
Shortly after he took Adeeb’s case, the Supreme Court had barred Shameem from appearing in any Maldivian court. Earlier this month, the apex court also ordered the police to investigate Shameem over an unspecified charge.
Three soldiers and several of Adeeb’s associates were also detained in the boat blast probe. In the wake of Adeeb’s arrest on October 24, the police and military raided several buildings in Malé as well as uninhabited islands leased for resort development. However, the state has yet to press criminal charges against any suspects over the alleged bombing.
Adeeb says the speedboat incident was “staged” to frame him. But the government insists the blast was a targeted assassination attempt. Although the FBI found no conclusive evidence of an explosive device on the speedboat, the government says Saudi Arabian forensic experts found traces of a powerful chemical explosive.
Corruption and terrorism charges against Adeeb were meanwhile filed at the criminal court in late November – after the parliament abruptly removed former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and appointed Yameen’s legal affairs secretary Aishath Bisham to the post.
The terrorism charge relates to Adeeb’s alleged possession of a pistol.
An unannounced first hearing in the corruption case took place on December 17 via teleconference at the police detention centre on the island of Dhoonidhoo. Adeeb was granted 30 days to appoint a lawyer.
Adeeb is accused of abuse of authority in the lease of a single island out of the 53 islands involved in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation corruption scandal. If convicted of “misuse of government information or authority to obtain benefits,” Adeeb will be jailed for a period of four years.