MMPRC graft trial: Ziyath receives additional 12-year prison term

MMPRC’s former Managing Director Abdulla Ziyath testifies in Criminal Court in the money laundering and bribery case against former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom in connection to the sale of V. Aarah.

Abdulla Ziyath, the former managing director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), who is already serving a sentence in the MMPRC graft scandal, has been sentenced to an additional 12 years in prison in the case.

The MMPRC graft scandal involves the laundering of millions from the sale of islands and lagoons leased for tourism via SOF Pvt. Ltd.

Ziyath was pressed with 32 charges in the case.

The Criminal Court heard three embezzlement charges against Ziyath on Thursday.

In the first charge, Ziyath was accused of getting MVR from the Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) by promising USD in exchange on multiple occasions, issuing MVR 203 million in the money to various companies, and embezzling it.

In the second charge, Ziyath was accused of issuing “loans” to various private companies from the MMPRC’s USD bank account, and embezzling USD 6.8 million of the company’s money.

The third charge was pressed against Ziyath for getting a USD 1 million loan to MMPRC from Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), and then issuing the money to a private company.

The court found Ziyath guilt on all three counts – each carrying a four-year prison sentence.

He was sentenced to total 12 years in prison.

Ziyath was initially arrested in connection to the MMPRC graft case on October 23, 2015, during former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration.

On June 23, 2016, he was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of embezzling money from the sale of Lh. Maabinhura.

However, he was transferred to home confinement on February 9, 2019.

He was later sentenced to an additional 11 years in prison, but was again transferred to home confinement, after a brief stint in prison.