Nazim’s legal team slams Vaguthu over allegedly leaked documents from pen drive

Former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim’s legal team has slammed online news outlet Vaguthu over the publication of leaked documents allegedly obtained from a pen drive confiscated from the retired colonel’s apartment.

Vaguthu claimed today that the documents were shown to lawyers at a closed hearing of Nazim’s ongoing trial on weapons smuggling charges and were leaked “after the legal team took pictures of the documents and sent to close friends.”

In a press statement today, Nazim’s legal team condemned Vaguthu for publishing a story with “blatantly false information.”

“We note that the [allegations of the lawyers] committing illegal acts are baseless falsehoods fabricated with the intention of misleading those who did not attend the court hearings regarding the proceedings,” the press release stated.

The Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office had submitted plans contained in the pen drive as confidential documents. The pen drive was allegedly confiscated along with a pistol and three bullets during a midnight raid at the then-defence minister’s apartment on January 18.

Nazim’s legal team categorically denied taking photos of the documents, noting that court officers searched lawyers with a hand-held metal detector before entering the courtroom.

As the confidential documents were shown to defence lawyers inside the courtroom and were not released, the legal team noted that lawyers would not have had the opportunity to take photos while court officers, state prosecutors, and judges were present.

Moreover, as the law firm’s offices were in front of the justice building, none of Nazim’s lawyers took their phones to the court hearings, the press release added.

The allegations by Vaguthu journalist Adam Nawaz were intended to unlawfully “challenge justice” in violation of court orders, influence public perception concerning Nazim’s trial and conceal the source of the documents, the legal team contended.

At a hearing on March 11, state prosecutors claimed that plans on the pen drive showed that the then-defence minister was planning to attack President Abdulla Yameen, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb, and Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed.

The plans demonstrated Nazim had the “motive and character” to use the pistol and bullets, State Prosecutor Adam Arif told the Criminal Court.

However, Nazim’s lawyers alleged that rogue police officers planted the weapons in a conspiracy engineered by Adeeb. The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) deputy leader subsequently dismissed the allegations as “lies.”

Nazim was sacked from the cabinet after the midnight raid on January 18 and arrested on additional charges of terrorism and treason on February 10.

Pen drive plot

Vaguthu meanwhile claimed to have verified the authenticity of the leaked documents, which allegedly revealed “a huge conspiracy to murder Tourism Minister Adeeb” on February 14 and assassinate President Yameen in Singapore.

“The document indicated that Nazim should advise Adeeb to hold a show on Valentine’s Day and the attack was planned to happen at the show which will put the blame on the extremists and therefore the evidences can be destroyed and as well the attackers could escape,” reads the Vaguthu article.

Adeeb’s assassins or marksmen were to flee on a speedboat in front of the Merry Brown restaurant and spend three days at Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s Paradise Island Resort, after which they would be flown to Bangkok, Thailand.

The documents also contained a chart showing the Yameen administration divided into factions led respectively by the president and then-Defence Minister Nazim.

Nazim’s “team” included Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), Home Minister Umar Naseer, former Police Commissioner and current JP MP Abdulla Riyaz, Maldives Ambassador to Malaysia Mohamed Fayaz ‘FA,’ former State Trading Organisation (STO) Managing Director Adam Azim (Nazim’s brother), PPM MP Hussain Manik Dhon Manik, PPM MP Ahmed Nazim, Youth Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, and President’s Office Minister Abdulla Ameen.

“Tourism Minister Adheeb’s connection is extended to Environment Minister Thariq Ibrahim, Attorney General Mohamed Anil and Fisheries Minister Dr. Mohamed Shainy,” Vaguthu stated.

“Minister Adheeb’s connection is further extended to Auditor General Hassan Ziyath, Prosecutor General Muhuthaaz Muhusin, Supreme Court, Progressive Party of Maldives’ PG group, and Anti-corruption Commission.”

The plot allegedly involved Chief of Defence Forces Major General Ahmed Shiyam, Vice Chief of Defence Forces Ahmed Mohamed, Gasim’s Villa Group, STO, and an individual identified as “Bodu Boalha Naseem” who was to secure weapons from the MNDF armoury.

After President Yameen is assassinated, Vaguthu claimed that Dr Jameel would assume the presidency and back Nazim’s presidential bid in 2018. Upon winning the election, Nazim would “reconnect with the Zaeem team,” a likely reference to PPM leader, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

“All the government contracts will be assigned to Gasim after Nazim is elected as the President and if necessary, FA Fayaz will get the support from the Thailand’s army,” reads the Vaguthu article.

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Photos from Vaguthu

Related to this story:

State concludes witness testimony in former Defence Minister Nazim’s trial

Ex-defence minister “plotted to attack” president, police chief, tourism minister

PG threatens legal action against Nazim’s lawyers

Adeeb framed Nazim after fallout over Malé City’s Areca palms, lawyers claim

Fingerprints on confiscated pistol did not match Nazim’s, lawyers reveal

Evidence against Nazim consists only of 13 anonymised police statements


Ali Waheed reports leaking of documents to police, “too late” says Zuhair

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ali Waheed has also reported the leakage of several document concerning the Guantanamo Bay detainees to police. The Foreign Ministry said it was reporting the matter to the police on Tuesday.

Press secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said that Waheed was trying to escape after he was accused of being the recipient of a stolen secret document of the government.

Zuhair claimed Waheed had reported the case because ”he realised what he had done.”

”All the collaborators involved in the crime of stealing a government document and spreading it without clarifying its validity are also equally culpable,” said Zuhair. ‘They should be given the punishment that one receives for being a thief.”

Zuhair said the theft of the documents was a crime under articles 12 and 13 of the penal code.

”Politics is not an excuse for crime,” he said. ”Whoever stole the documents is a criminal shall be treated as a criminal.”

He said that government was not trying to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees into the country in secret.

”We will only bring him according to the law,” he said. ”What is the problem with it if he has a valid passport, the threat of being attacked if he goes back to his own country and he is a innocent Muslim?”

He said that Ali Waheed was aware the matter was not unlawful or dangerous, and dismissed counter-claims by the opposition as ”pure political circus”.

”That man [Waheed] has the look of a comedian,” Zuhair said.

Waheed, in a press conference yesterday, announced that he had reported the leaked document to police and said he had requested they investigate the case, so the government’s documents could be safely protected while the National Security Committee was investigating the Guantanamo Bay affair.

”I did not steal anything,” he claimed. “When I received government documents that I believed had the potential to harm the national security of the country I presented it to the national security committee to investigate,” he said.

”I do not believe that it is known as thieving. It was not leaked by my mistake.”

Foreign minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed has also reported the case to the police.

Dr Shaheed said the documents consisted of unofficial communications to the Maldives government from the US government, and a document sent to the Attorney General’s office by the Foreign Ministry.

Dr Shaheed said the documents also included an unofficial letter sent from the US discussing how a legal framework could be established to bring in the detainees.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair has recently said that the document was not leaked but was “deliberately stolen”, which he said caused “a lot of trouble” for the Maldives, by disrupting diplomatic relationships between countries.


Foreign Ministry reports leaked documents to Police

Foreign Minister, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, has filed a case at the police regarding leaked documents concerning the Guantánamo Bay detainees issue, reports Miadhu.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News last week “some papers between the President’s Office and some ministries were leaked.” State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Naseem, confirmed documents between his ministry and the President’s Office had been leaked.

The documents include a copy of a letter from the Foreign Ministry to the Attorney General, seeking advice on the legalities of the transfer. A note from the US Embassy outlining the legal framework of the transfer was also included.

Dr Shaheed said the documents were forged to some extend, according to Miadhu, making the public worry about the issue.

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has also asked the government to release accurate information on the issue.