State withdraws three witnesses in “Redwave” Saleem corruption trial

The Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) today withdrew three of its four witnesses in the corruption case against MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem, who is facing charges of conspiracy to defraud the former Atolls Ministry in the purchase of mosque sound systems.

The alleged corruption was uncovered in the audit report of the now defunct Atolls Ministry released in 2009. Saleem was former director of finance at the ministry.

Following a police investigation requested by the Presidential Commission, the PGO charged Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim, MP Saleem and former Atolls Minister Abdulla Hameed with three counts of conspiracy to defraud, abuse of power and violation of the state finance and asset regulations.

Local daily Haveeru reports that the three witnesses withdrawn by the state were minority opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Deputy Leader Abdulla Matheen, Abdulla Hameed and Ahmed Aseeth.

Saleem meanwhile proposed as his witnesses three former employees of the Atolls Ministry.

According to the law, MPs convicted for a sentence exceeding one year would automatically be stripped of their seat.