President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom addressed the public this morning to provide detailed information about the arrest of the Vice President of Maldives, Mr Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor. President Yameen revealed that the Vice President was arrested in connection with the investigation following the explosion onboard the Presidential Speedboat on 28 September 2015, which had caused serious injuries to the first lady, Madam Fathimath Ibrahim.
The President stated that the National Inquiry Commission and the Maldives Police have come to the conclusion that an impartial investigation regarding the speedboat explosion could not be carried out unless the Vice President is taken into custody. The President also confirmed that the Vice President was not taken into custody based on intelligence reports alone, but based on credible information obtained during the investigation. President Yameen noted that Vice President had not been cooperating with the investigating team and that many questions remained to be answered by him.
Underscoring the obstacles faced in conducting the investigation, the President stressed the lack of cooperation and compliance received from the Vice President for the investigation, despite repeated requests to do so from the President himself. President Yameen said that the relevant authorities have reasonable grounds to believe that the Vice President had been exerting undue influence over the Maldives Police Service, through official and unofficial means and by the use of resources outside the scope of the State budget. Continuing in this regard, the President noted that the Maldives Police has evidence of efforts made by suspected elements within the Maldives security services to tamper with and destroy evidence related to the on-going investigation. In this regard, the President also highlighted the challenges faced by the relevant authorities in the execution of court warrants, including in the conduct of searches at the homes of suspects related to the investigation.
It is important to note that the investigation remains on-going and the Vice President, like any other citizen of the Maldives, will be afforded all rights under the Constitution during the investigation and if charges are brought, in any trial.
Continuing his remarks, the President expressed hope that the Vice President would extend his full cooperation and support to the investigation.
The President also revealed that after the blast on 28 September, Vice President Adeeb was actively canvassing for support of the MPs belonging to the opposition MDP and the ruling party PPM to impeach the President. He noted that he could not think of any reason why his own Vice President would want to bring an impeachment motion against him.
The President noted that the arrest of any senior government figure in relation to the events of 28 September 2015 is deeply unfortunate, the Government remains committed to ensure that the investigation is conducted swiftly and transparently.
With reference to the dismissal of Minister of Defence and National Security, (retd.) Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel, President Yameen stated that the Minister was dismissed not because he had any connection to the explosion of the presidential launch. However, the President informed that the Defence Minister was dismissed because he authorised, against the rules of procedure of the MNDF, to allow the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Cooperation (MMPRC) to import gun powder in to the country.
With reference to the remand of the Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company, Mr. Abdulla Ziyath, the President noted that there is a serious allegation of large sums of money paid to individuals and parliamentarians are believed to have been channelled through the MMPRC. Additionally it was stated that the Managing Director was in custody because the Police and Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) are investigating the case of the fraudulently imported gunpowder container by MMPRC.
The President assured the nation that the Government would continue with the development projects envisioned to transform the country’s economy and to empower the youth. The President also expressed the Government’s commitment to attract foreign investors as partners in the mega developmental projects of the Government.