Parliament summons central bank officials over MMPRC scandal

Senior officials of central bank Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) were on Tuesday summoned to the parliament to be questioned over the report issued on the shocking scandal that saw millions of state funds embezzled through Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC).

The Public Finance Committee of the parliament summoned the officials to inquire further about the discoveries listed in the report issued by the Anti-Corruption Commission on the scandal.

Being summoned were Governor Ahmed Naseer and former heads of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the bank, Abdulla Ashraf and Athif Shakoor.

The questioning went on behind closed-doors, and media was not allowed inside for the session.

Both Athif and Ashraf had previously given statements to the graft watchdog on their account of the MMPRC embezzlement. In his statement, Athif had stated that Bank of Maldives had issued a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) to the FIU as large amounts of funds were being issued between MMPRC and SOF Private Limited as "currency exchange transactions" under a special agreement established between both parties, although no documentation proving this were provided by the involved parties. Upon receiving the STR, an investigation was launched into SOF Pvt Ltd by FIU and a report was made based on its findings.

Abdulla Ashraf, who was also involved in the investigation gave his statement stating that he himself had noticed transactions amounting to large sums being carried out between SOF Pvt Ltd and MMPRC. In his statement, he had further noted that a large sum of the funds were transferred out from the account within the span of a week.