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Police search Gasim's house, offices

The police, under a warrant on Sunday, searched Jumhoory Party’s (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim’s house, ‘Maafannu Villa’.

The Maamigili MP has been accused of attempting to bribe government lawmakers ahead of the censure motion against parliament’s speaker Abdullah Maseeh, and undue influence on a state official.

The police also raided the offices of his company ‘Villa Shipping’.

The search warrant, which was issued by the criminal court, allows the police to search all properties affiliated with Gasim for evidence to support the bribery and the other allegations raised against him.

Further, the search warrant also allows the police to confiscate and seize any materials they find to support these claims.

However, MP Gasim’s lawyer Hisaan Hussain has said that the police informed her that they did not find any evidence against the business magnate.

MP Gasim Ibrahim was arrested on April 6 over the bribery allegations; however, the high court last Wednesday freed him after ruling that he was arrested in violence of due procedure. However, the appellate court had levied three fresh charges against him on counts of attempted bribery and undue influence on a state official.

The seasoned lawmaker was arrested after the criminal court issued an arrest warrant, on direct request of the police.

However, according to parliament rules of procedure, unless from a scene of a crime, a lawmaker can only be arrested under a warrant from a superior court on direct request from the chief prosecutor.

The opposition coalition, which now JP is a part of, has claimed that the government is descending into autocracy and has been heavily critical of its “crackdown” on the opposition.

Meanwhile, the appellate court on Thursday held the trial of MP Gasim on the fresh charges they brought against him, behind closed doors. The reason behind this decision remained unclear; however, the court had banned two of his lawyers for comments they made against the court the day before at a rally. They were allowed back in to the court for the trial after they apologised to the court.

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