Maldives tourism graft 'whistle-blower' sentenced to prison

Maldives criminal court Tuesday handed an eight month prison sentence to a senior bank official responsible for leaking documents related to a private company linked to the largest corruption scandal in the history of the archipelago.

Gasim Abdul Kareem, a former assistant manager at the Bank of Maldives’ Faafu Atoll Nilandhoo Branch who was arrested in February was sentenced to eight months and 12 days in prison after he was found guilty of illegally disclosing private information.

The proceedings including the sentencing hearing had been held behind closed doors on the request of state prosecutors.

Local rights group, Transparency Maldives had led a public campaign calling on the authorities to drop the charges against Gasim describing him as a whistle-blower.

The official audit report into the scandal had revealed that over USD79 million had been embezzled through the state tourism promotion company.

Maldives Media and PR Corporation (MMPRC) had mediated the leasing of over 59 different tourist hotels, resorts and yacht marinas out of which 53 had been leased through an agreement with the tourism ministry.

The funds received by MMPRC was distributed through a private company.