ACC working on correcting administrative issues linked to Youth Minister's case

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has stated that the commission is further assessing the corruption case it built against Youth Minister, Ahmed Mahloof.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) requested the Prosecutor General's Office twice to raise charges against Mahloof after a joint investigation conducted by Maldives Police Service, the Asset Recovery Commission and ACC into the MMPRC graft found that Mahloof was a recipient of stolen public funds. However, PGO asked ACC to correct some administrative issues and resubmit the case on both occasions.

ACC on Thursday said the commission is completing the tasks requested by PGO. Neither ACC nor PGO gave details on what was asked to be corrected. ACC said a date on which the issues can be corrected and resubmitted at PGO is not clear at this time.

As per a statement issued by ACC earlier this month, Mahloof had accepted US$ 33,000 while he was an MP to vote in favor of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) bill as well to remain as a member of the then-ruling party, the Progressive Party of Maldives. The statement said Mahloof flew to the Maldives from Malaysia for the sole purpose of attending the parliament sitting held on August 27, 2014, during which the SEZ bill vote was taken.

Messages exchanged between former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor and Ahmed Mahloof following the vote and the date on which a cheque issued by SOF Pvt Ltd was deposited into Mahloof's account show the two events are linked, ACC said.

ACC further noted that Mahloof had claimed the money that was deposited into his account was a currency exchange transaction and a 'Payment Received' document that was said to have been issued by SOF Pvt Ltd was submitted as proof by Mahloof. However, there is no evidence to prove that such an exchange had taken place, and witness statements, as well as other evidence, prove the money Mahloof received was a bribe paid by Adeeb. ACC, therefore, requested the Prosecutor General's Office to charge Mahloof under Article 2, a) of the Prevention and Prohibition of Corruption Act.

ACC also noted that Mahloof had attempted to cover up the corruption by providing false information and documents to ACC. While Mahloof had claimed he paid in cash the equivalent of the exchanged currency, his statement is untrue, ACC noted. Therefore, ACC also requested the Prosecutor General's Office to charge Mahloof under Article 521's a) and b) of the Penal Code as Mahloof made a written false statement with the purpose of misleading a public official.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has ordered Mahloof to step aside from his duties until a decision regarding the charges pressed against him.