Maldives' asset recovery commission finds billions in unpaid taxes

Newly established commission on state assets recovery on Tuesday claimed to have uncovered billions of rufiyaa owed to the state, largely in unpaid taxes.

The five member commission established in June last year, in a statement highlighted that most of the missing assets were owed in taxes to the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA).

In this regard the commission noted that a total of MVR 3,629,473,520.32 is owed to MIRA as resort lease payment while MVR 7,522,267.81 is owed as goods and services tax (GST).

In addition, the commission has highlighted that the judicial process was currently underway for these cases, the statement read.

Government had said the main purpose of establishing the commission was to analyse efforts taken by the institutions to recover State assets highlighted in reports published by the Auditor General and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has granted full authority to the commission established for a year, to independently carry out its duties, and take action accordingly.

The commission's mandate however, remains limited to past cases and would not be involved in any of the new ones.

"There are millions the state needs to recover. But as there has been major [recovery] delays, the president under the advice of the cabinet has decided to establish this commission. The commission would review existing reports and do what needs to be done to recover the assets as quickly as possible," Attorney General (AG) Mohamed Anil had said in June.

The five member commission chaired by home minister Azleen Ahmed, would be required to submit a progress report to the president every three months, Anil added.

Maldives has been ravaged by corruption and embezzlement of millions in state funds with top government officials and institutions, both former and current implicated in various audit and graft reports.