19 December 2020
Speaking to local media outlet Mihaaru, Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem, on Wednesday, revealed that former lawmaker Ahmed Nihan’s case was forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s Office, with charges sought over his involvement in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) scandal. Ahmed Nihan was previously parliamentary group leader of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). The former MP is accused of accepting bribes during the money laundering that occurred in the MVR 4 billion corruption scandal.
The Prosecutor General assured that the case would be sped up and efforts are being made to comply with certain procedures which must be completed before charges can be raised.
Nihan was considered as one of the 30 prioritized suspects in the MMPRC scandal, along with the Maldives Police Service and the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC). Presidential Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery Commission have jointly investigated Nihan. Asset Recovery Commission collected data of the assets owned by him and his bank records.
The court withheld Nihan’s passport on Monday, after the police alleged that he was trying to flee the country.
MMPRC scandal involves embezzlement of MVR 4 billion in state funds, which were acquired through leasing islands and lagoons for tourism development and siphoned by private company, SOF Pvt Ltd. Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) stated that 267 individuals benefitted from the MMPRC scandal. Suspects in the scandal include high-ranking officials from the incumbent and past administrations, in addition to parliament representatives, judges, members of independent bodies and officers of law enforcement.
The three persons convicted over their involvement in the MMPRC scandal are ex-President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom who is serving a 5 year jail and $5 million fine, former Vice-President Adeeb who is serving a 20-year prison sentence with a fine of MVR 2 million and Ziyath, former Managing Director of MMPRC, who is serving 11 years in prison.