18 July 2020
Maldives Police Service are inspecting four buildings located in Male’ City, as part of the ongoing investigations into the MVR 1.3 billion corruption scandal involving Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). Residences in capital Male’ and reclaimed suburb Hulhumale’ were also searched.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Presidential Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery and Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) are contributing to the enquiry. Investigations into the MMPRC scandal commenced in 2015, and according to the police sources, several cases were forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s Office last year for indictment.
Police have previously conducted similar joint operations with the Presidential Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances as well. But no one was charged as a result of these investigations.
Police state that former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb masterminded the MMPRC fraud, with the assistance of MMPRC’s former Managing Director Abdulla Ziyath. Both of them are currently under house arrest.
Out of those accused of their involvement in embezzling the MMPRC state funds, only former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is serving jail time. The Criminal Court sentenced the ex-president to five years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of USD 5 million over the money laundering charges. He was not charged with any crime relating to MMPRC.
Maldives Police Service revealed that five officers implicated in MMPRC graft have been suspended as authorities probe their cases. It is not clear how police officers got involved in this case.
Reports released by investigative bodies last October list 267 individuals amongst those who benefitted from the fraud. A total of 44 former MPs, 16 currently serving MPs, five members from independent institutions, 30 senior officials from Yameen’s government, six senior officials of the incumbent government, seven (currently serving and former) judges and seven officers from national security services had ties to the graft.