Eydhafushi MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem has pleaded not guilty to charges that he was allegedly responsible for the illegal transfer of state funds to a private company in a violation of the country’s Anti-Corruption Act.
According to local media reports, prosecutors at the Criminal Court today alleged that Saleem, acting of his own accord, transferred 50 per cent of some government development funds to a company called Neyza Enterprises. The allegations date back to 2003, when Saleem served as director of the Ministry of Atolls Development.
Haveeru reported that Saleem rejected allegations that he had been responsible for the funds transfer, claiming the charges against him were politically motivated and an attempt by President Mohamed Nasheed to destroy his poltical career.
Judge Abdulla Didi reportedly told Saleem, who potentially faces a year in prison as well as the loss of his parliamentary seat if convicted, to avoid talking about politics and the president during the trial and discuss the charges against him.
Saleem’s lawyer MP Ibrahim Riza said that the charge documents had failed to clarify whether the defendant had been required to make an announcement concerning the development project linked to the case. Riza claimed the situation was complicated by the government holding control of the documents in question.
Both the prosecution and defense submitted their respective list of witnesses to the court as the trial continues, Haveeru added.