Maldives looks to bring in asset recovery law

Maldives government is looking to bring in a separate legislation to recover embezzled state funds and assets, Attorney General (AG) Mohamed Anil announced Friday.

Speaking to state television, AG said the government from last year had given great emphasis on recovering state funds, noting the efforts of the newly constituted asset recovery commission.

However, Anil quickly pointed out that the efforts of the commission have been hindered due to a lack of a separate law.

"For example, some people have the embezzled funds and assets in somebody else's name. Or converted money to assets. So for us, the road becomes longer when we have to recover that money in a third party's name. So we're looking to draft a separate law up to international standards that would enable us to overcome such obstacles," the AG explained.

In addition to an asset recovery law, the government is also looking to raise the penalty on corruption by amending the penal code.

The AG had earlier said the government propose two major amendments to the penal code this year, which includes a specific chapter on embezzlement and corruption.

Anil said the amendments would include some of the recommendations made by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

"If top state officials are involved in bribery, then the penalty should be more severe," Anil said.

The present penal code does not specify 'corruption' as an offence but includes abuse of power and bribery.