The Criminal Court on Wednesday granted the prosecution’s request for ‘temporary’ withdrawal of charges against Ahmed Kurik Riza, a close associate of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, in the bribery and money laundering trial relating to the lease of Fuggiri Island, Raa Atoll.

A media officer from the Criminal Court confirmed that the charges against Riza were withdrawn due to delays in the trial caused by his health condition. The Prosecutor General’s Office cited medical documents submitted by Riza’s defence team as the reason for the continued delay.

Riza, the former Deputy Managing Director of the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), is accused of acting as a middle man in depositing US$1.1 million received in kickbacks in Yameen’s account, which was funneled through two subsidiaries of the Sun Group: Sun Investments Private Limited and Sun Construction and Engineering Private Limited.

While charges against Riza have been withdrawn, former President Yameen’s trial in the same bribery case is still set to proceed. Yameen, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for money laundering related to the lease of Aarah, Vaavu Atoll, through the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).