“Gayoom began plotting coup after Adheeb was made VP”: police

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom arrives in a police speedboat for a remand hearing at the Criminal Court on March 20, 2018. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom arrives in a police speedboat for a remand hearing at the Criminal Court on March 20, 2018. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Maldives Police Service Sunday made serious allegations against incumbent President Abdulla Yameen’s half brother and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, claiming that he began plotting a coup d’état after Ahmed Adheeb was made Vice President.

At the press conference held Sunday evening, the police revealed that the rift between President Yameen and Gayyoom widened further when the latter had advised his half-brother not to appoint Adheeb as his vice.

The police’s operation uncovered that the Gayyoom had been plotting the alleged coup since 2015, when Adheeb was made Vice President, police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Ahmed Shifaan said.

Gayyoom and his son Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon had even bribed lawmakers ahead of an opposition-lobbied censure motion against parliament speaker Abdullah Maseeh March, 2016 and proposed to join the opposition coalition then, Shifaan revealed.

“We’d also like to highlight that Gayyoom had a lot of help from his allies in conspiring to overthrow the government,” he added, speaking to the press.

As such, he revealed that Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed and Machangoalhi-South MP Abdullah Sinan who defected from the ruling party after the controversial censure motion, along with Jumhoory Party’s deputy leader and Kinbidhoo MP Abdullah Riyaz, had abetted Gayyoom in plotting the coup.

These lawmakers have been remanded until the end of their trials.

During Sunday’s press conference, the police revealed that it has been investigating the alleged coup plot against President Yameen, orchestrated by his half-brother since January 11. Shifaan said that the police discovered enough evidence to implicate judges and several government official who had accepted bribes to carry out the plans masterminded by the elder Gayyoom.

“We also found out that they bought apartments for the two judges [Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed and Supreme Court Jude Ali Hameed], and the Villa Group provided the financial means to make the purchase. We arrested [Jumhoory Party leader Qasim Ibrahim’s son] Siyad Qasim, after we uncovered that the judges were bribed,” the police spokesperson said.

The police also received intelligence reports that a suitcase was transferred out from a part of Gayyoom’s home in Male; Shifaan revealed that the suitcase was later found in the home of Najuma Ibrahim, an employee at former President Maumoon’s office.

Najuma, Gayyoom’s personal bodyguard and an expat driver were arrested in relation to the suitcase incident, the police revealed.

The suitcase contained a lot of evidence that implicate key people who were arrested during the state of emergency, Shifaan said. Among the evidence was a letter written by MP Faris to his father, which advised him to seek India’s help in “fixing” the domestic problems in Maldives at that time.

“The letters called to take drastic actions such as using banks to distraught the economy, making it difficult for Maldivians to acquire visas to travel abroad and deliberately holding the supply of basic necessitates such as rice, sugar, flour, and other such plans were discussed in these letters,” Shifaan revealed.

The former president was arrested from his home, just hours after President Yameen declared a state of emergency on February 5. He has since been charged with attempting to orchestrate an act of terrorism and obstruction of justice for refusing to provide the police his mobile phone, which was considered material evidence in the investigation.

Gayyoom was first kept in Dhoonidhoo and was transferred to the notorious Maafushi Prison later. His son-in-law Mohamed Nadheem was also arrested with Maumoon for the same terrorism charge and he is also in Maafushi Prison, along with MP Faris.

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