The Criminal Court on Thursday acquitted former Housing Minister and current Male’ City Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu of perjury charges that stemmed from his statement in an arbitration case involving Noomadi Resorts and Residences. The company filed a claim for US$155 million as compensation and other arbitration charges at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, following the termination of a housing development contract by the previous government while Muizzu was still serving as the housing minister. The arbitration case was later settled out of court.

In the perjury case, the Criminal Court concluded that the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim that Muizzu had made a false statement favouring Noomadi,

Delivering the judgment, Judge Sofwath Habeeb underscored the prosecution’s inability to present sufficient evidence demonstrating that the statement submitted as evidence was indeed given by Muizzu during the arbitration process. Additionally, the judge expressed doubt regarding the authenticity of Muizzu’s signature on the statement, citing a lack of efforts to verify its validity.

As a consequence, Judge Sofwath deemed the statement submitted as evidence questionable, citing incomplete foundations for the offence. Consequently, the court ruled that the charges against Muizzu were not proven beyond reasonable doubt, resulting in his acquittal.

Even if convicted, Muizzu would have faced a basic sentence of four months and 24 days in jail. However, with the court’s decision to acquit him, he will not serve any time behind bars.

The government has reached an out-of-court settlement with Noomadi, agreeing to compensate the company with a sum of $55 million. The housing project, which was awarded to Noomadi during Muizzu’s tenure as Housing Minister, had been terminated by the previous government while Muizzu was still in office.

Muizzu, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, expressed relief following the court’s decision. Throughout the trial, he maintained his innocence and reiterated his unwavering commitment to serving the citizens.