Pres implicates opposition in 'hidden' tourism graft money

Maldives' incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Sunday implicated top opposition figures in the money embezzled by the now jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor in biggest corruption scandal in the country's history.

Speaking during a campaign rally in Thaa Atoll Guraidhoo island, president Yameen alleged that top opposition figures "would know where Adheeb has hidden the money."

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

The funds received by MMPRC was distributed through a private company called SOF Private Limited with strong links to Adheeb.

President Yameen had also slammed the opposition for now "working with" Adheeb after accusing him of major corruption when he was the vice president.

"Why do you thing they are suddenly so good to Adheeb. They will protest against the corruption but they won't try to recover the stolen money. They can't. Because they don't have what it takes. Because they know where the money is hidden," he alleged.

Adheeb is serving 33 years in prison after being convicted of multiple counts of terrorism including a plot to assassinate president Yameen.