MP Faris charged over use of PPM flag

MP Faris Maumoon, son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, is facing trial over the alleged unauthorised use of the flag and logo of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.

According to state media, the Prosecutor General’s office filed the case at the criminal court on Wednesday.

The MP for Dhiggaru was charged with identity fraud under section 312 of the penal code. Causing a person to falsely believe that the defendant was lawfully exercising official or legislative authority is a class five felony that carries a two-year prison sentence.

Faris was questioned by the police on June 1 over the use of the PPM’s flag at a joint opposition press conference in March. He was representing the PPM after Gayoom joined forces with the opposition and sought to seize the parliament’s majority with defections from the divided ruling party

The PPM was split into rival factions last year amid an acrimonious leadership dispute between Gayoom and his half-brother President Abdulla Yameen.

Yameen won the battle for control after the civil court stripped Gayoom of his powers as the party’s elected leader and lifted his suspension of the party’s council. The court ordered Yameen to resume council meetings under his leadership and the governing body promptly put him in charge of the party.

But Gayoom reacted by reconstituting the council and appointing loyalists to key posts, maintaining that the PPM charter prohibits a sitting president, who has a symbolic role as advisor, from managing the party.

In late March, the Yameen faction’s disciplinary committee expelled Gayoom from the PPM and the police subsequently took down the PPM flag from Gayoom’s office in Malé.

The Anti-Corruption Commission has meanwhile summoned Gayoom for questioning over the alleged misuse of state funds from the former presidential palace Theemuge in 2007 and 2008, the last two years of his 30-year reign.

According to Gayoom’s secretary-general, the anti-graft watchdog sent a letter on Thursday but the date of the summons is unclear.

In late April, the police also sought charges against Faris over alleged failure to reimburse the state after the ACC forwarded a case concerning the Theemuge audit reports.

But the Prosecutor General’s office rejected the case as the statute of limitations for the illegal expenses charge was eight years.

He was summoned for questioning five times ahead of the March 27 failed no-confidence vote against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed and barred from travelling overseas. In late May, Faris was prevented from visiting his dying aunt because the authorities refused to lift the travel ban.

Other Gayoom loyalists have also faced legal action.

On Monday, the police asked the Prosecutor General’s office to press charges against Gayoom’s personal assistant Ahmed Sofwan for refusing to answer multiple summonses and return to the Maldives.

Sofwan was wanted for questioning over his alleged involvement with Faris in bribing lawmakers to vote in favour of a failed no-confidence motion against Speaker Maseeh, the police said.

Faris was also questioned over the bribery allegations in late April.

Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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