Pres commission begins probe into tourism graft scandal

The presidential commission established by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to probe corruption in the archipelago has begun looking into the biggest corruption scandal in the history of Maldives.

The commission has made a public appeal to share any documentation and information that could be helpful in investigating the graft.

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 the now jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has conducted their own investigation into the scandal. However, the detailed report of the investigation has not been publicized yet.

Some cases related to the corruption were forwarded to the Prosecutor General's Office, who then built a case against former vice-president, Ahmed Adeeb and former Managing Director of MMPRC, Ahmed Ziyath.

Before that, Maldives Police Service had also charged and convicted Adeeb and Ziyath for multiple offences linked to the MMPRC embezzlement.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has vowed to thoroughly investigate and take necessary action against those involved in corruption scandals. Former President, Yameen Abdul Gayoom has also been under suspicion of involvement in numerous grafts.