Former President Abdulla Yameen’s money laundering conviction has been called into doubt after the Supreme Court highlighted concerns about a disparity between the cheque number placed into Yameen’s account and the cheque number on the SOF Private Limited’s account statement.
On November 28, 2019, Yameen was found guilty of laundering USD 1 million from the sale of GA. Vodamula by the Criminal Court. He swiftly filed an appeal with the High Court, which upheld the original sentence on January 21, 2021.
The country’s highest court agreed to hear the former president’s appeal against his five-year prison sentence and a USD 5 million fine, which he filed in April.
The Supreme Court bench considering the case finished hearings in October, and the bench stated that it would announce its verdict if there was nothing further of significance to consider.
During a hearing on Thursday, Justice Mahaz Ali Zahir highlighted that the check number on the deposit slip did not match the check number on SOF’s bank statements, an issue that Yameen’s legal team had previously addressed. He questioned why the cheque number associated with the case and the cheque number on SOF’s account statement for the USD 1 million deposit did not match.
In response to the query, Public Prosecutor Ahmed Naufal confirmed that the number on the MVR 1 million cheque and the number on the account statement do not match, but claimed that this was due to a clerical error. He added that, while the cheque numbers do not match, the date and amount of the transfer from SOF’s account to Yameen’s account do.
But Yameen’s counsel, Abdulla Siyaz, stated that the defence considered the State’s justification unsatisfactory and that such a mistake would have been revealed in earlier court stages.
Following the conclusion of the hearing, Justice Mahaz stated that the bench will reach a judgement before the court goes into recess.