The Criminal Court has once again cancelled a hearing in the bribery and money laundering trial of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The case revolves around the leasing of Fuggiri Island, Raa Atoll, for resort development in 2015.

Ahmed Krik Riza, a close associate of the former president, and two subsidiaries of the Sun Group, Sun Investments Private Limited and Sun Construction and Engineering Private Limited, are also listed as defendants in the case. Both companies are charged with money laundering, as their bank accounts were used to funnel the money the former president received in kickbacks in the deal.

The cancellation of Sunday’s hearing was attributed to the unavailability of Sun Group lawyers, who were required to attend a hearing in a separate and unrelated case.

Yameen is already serving an 11-year prison sentence on charges of money laundering which stemmed from the lease of Aarah, Vaavu Atoll, for resort development through the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). He is now being tried on charges of money laundering and accepting a bribe of US$1.1 million in exchange for the lease of Fuggiri to a Dubai-based company in September 2015.

Yameen, who has been selected as the presidential candidate of the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives(PPM)/People’s National Congress (PNC) coalition, is entangled in multiple legal cases. The former president and his legal team, however, have not given up on his legal battles. His appeal against the 11-year prison sentence is still pending in the High Court, despite concerns that his right to appeal is being infringed upon. The outcome of the appeal will be crucial to determining his eligibility to contest the upcoming presidential elections. The delay has led Yameen’s lawyers to lodge a ‘constitutional’ case with the Supreme Court, seeking the apex court’s intervention to expedite the proceedings. However, the court refused to accept the case, stating that the filing did not meet the criteria to be treated as a constitutional case under the Courts Act. The former president’s legal team is now planning to appeal the decision directly to the Supreme Court bench.