2 March 2016.
Following the footsteps of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib, President Yameen intends to carry on regardless of allegations against him and his parliament.
Mariyam Shiuna, the executive director of Transparency Maldives, on 25 February 2016 has criticised the Speaker of the Parliament for his silence over allegations of MPs’ involvement in Maldives’ biggest ever corruption scandal. The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives which dominates the parliament had refused to debate the issue. An audit report released on 5th January, revealed that at least US$79 million was embezzled through the state-owned tourism promotion firm Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation over the past two years. Now deposed vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and one of his closest associates Abdulla Ziyath, who had until early last month served as the head of MMPRC are considered to be primary suspects.
President Yameen, while distancing himself from the allegations, said funds embezzled through MMPRC had been used to finance anti-government protests held by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). He did not refer to any investigations carried out in this regard.
The opposition party, MDP, chairperson Ali Waheed had claimed that the president had embezzled as much as $ 2.9 million (MVR45 million). The party also alleged that Saudi Arabian officials had given £500 million (MVR11.23 billion) to the Maldives last year as bribes to Maldivian officials. MDP said it was in possession of a deposit receipt (Trx No: 1405664) of USD 500,000 to an account under the name of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on October 12. Over USD 300,000 was also transferred to an account under the name of Villufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed.
President Abdulla Yameen, meanwhile, admitted to handing out cash to MPs from gifts he had received from friendly businesses.
Anti-Corruption Commission has decided to close an inquiry against a former cabinet minister, citing lack of evidence and additional “reasons that cannot be disclosed to the press.” The commission had previously alleged corruption in former presidential affairs minister Mohamed ‘Mundhu’ Hussain Shareef’s awarding of a catering contract for a state banquet to mark the Maldives’ Golden Jubilee of Independence. The Commission had earlier filed the investigation on the advice of the prosecutor general’s office.
Newly appointed Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham has denied allegations of conflict of interest in deciding not to prosecute a former presidential affairs minister for graft over last year’s Independence Day banquet. Aishath Bisham was previously President Abdulla Yameen’s legal affairs secretary.
Charges have been filed against deposed vice president Adheeb in a case involving the leasing of an island and a lagoon in Male atoll. He was charged with abuse of power. While his close ally, Ziyath was charged with corruption. Ziyath had also been charged with embezzlement over USD 5 million (MVR 76.2 million) received as acquisition cost for an island leased for resort development. The Prosecutor General’s Office, however, had announced that it was awaiting Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigations over these allegations.
The former vice president, Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor, has been accused of high treason in connection with an explosion that took place when President Yameen and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim were travelling to Male from the airport on 28 September 2015. They returned home that morning after haj pilgrimage. The president was not hurt, but the first lady and two presidential aides suffered serious injuries.
Maldives: Parliamentary corruption
2 March 2016.