MP Ahmed Mahloof has accused Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb of using gangs to commit politically motivated “state-sponsored” crimes.
In an appearance on opposition-aligned Raajje TV last night, Mahloof alleged the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) deputy leader’s involvement in a number of “atrocities,” including the arson attack on Raajje TV in October 2013 and the stabbing of former MP Alhan Fahmy in February 2014.
“In reality, the current government is a big gang,” he said.
“There aren’t that many people in this gang. There about six people in this gang. President Yameen is the boss. Some people might find this hard to hear, but I’m saying this with daring because President Yameen would not keep Adeeb close knowing the serious atrocities in this country are carried out by him.”
Adeeb was responsible for bringing both the government and the PPM into disrepute and creating divisions within the party, he added.
On Sunday night (March 15), Mahloof alleged that a group of about ten men attempted to break into his apartment after Adeeb threatened him over the phone.
Adeeb has denied the allegations, claiming Mahloof was getting paid or bribed to defame him and President Abdulla Yameen. The tourism minister has also dismissed allegations of connections with criminal gangs.
The MP for Galolhu South was expelled from the PPM last month for allegedly defaming President Yameen.
Mahloof claimed last night that Adeeb demanded he pay back MVR5 million (US$324,254) and threatened him over the phone.
The group of young men tried to enter his apartment about two hours later, he said.
Referring to a group of six young men threatening opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) demonstrators with knives on Sunday night before smashing up a lorry and loudspeakers, Mahloof claimed Adeeb assures immunity from prosecution to the youth involved in the attacks.
A number of senior police officers were beholden to Adeeb and followed his orders, Mahloof continued, claiming other police officers were unhappy with the release of young men arrested for attacking peaceful protesters.
Any police officer who tries to investigate Adeeb would be fired, he claimed.
Speaking to reporters outside the parliament building yesterday, Mahloof alleged that Adeeb had admitted to paying gangs to torch the motorcycle of then-MP-elect Mohamed Abdulla ‘Muhamma’ in May 2014 before he switched from the Jumhooree Party (JP) to PPM.
Police intelligence had learned of Adeeb’s involvement, Mahloof claimed, adding that Adeeb had told him the plan was “to make it look like the JP did it” after MP Abdulla publicly declared that he would support the government if his party left the ruling coalition.
However, Mahloof said he now believed an attack or attempt to frame him was likely.
He also accused the tourism minister of corruption, claiming resort owners had told him that Adeeb demands MVR500,000 (US$32,425) for a meeting.
Mahloof claimed a youth allegedly involved in torching Raajje TV studios personally told him that he met Adeeb to plan the attack.
Moreover, former Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz – now an opposition JP MP – said the police investigation established Adeeb’s involvement, he added.
Mahloof also claimed that Adeeb confessed to having Specialist Operations (SO) police officers chop down all of Malé City Council’s areca palms in October. Adeeb has paid off a number of SO officers, he alleged.
Mahloof further claimed that the PPM parliamentary group was initially against the dismissal of Supreme Court Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain.
But Adeeb came to a parliamentary group meeting and told MPs that “Yameen believes this should be done and we will decide those who don’t vote for this are against the government.”
Only Mahloof and MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed voted against issuing a three-line whip to dismiss the chief justice, he added.
Moreover, PPM MP Ahmed Nazim – former deputy speaker – was out of favour with President Yameen after he revealed “with evidence” alleged corruption involving Adeeb to the president, which later became the subject of an audit report implicating the tourism minister in a US$6 million corruption scandal.
Mahloof said he does not plan to join a political party in the near future and preferred to remain an independent MP, but added that he was willing to work with the opposition.
Recently dismissed Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, currently standing trial for weapons smuggling, has told the Criminal Court that SO officers planted a pistol and three bullets at his apartment during a midnight raid on Adeeb’s orders on January 18. The pair had fallen out after the ex Defence Minister informed President Yameen of the Tourism Minister’s involvement in chopping down Malé City’s Areca Palms, Nazim alleged.
The Tourism Minister has dismissed the allegations as lies.
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