BML responds to ACC's 'unfounded' allegations against the bank

Bank of Maldives (BML) has denied Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)'s allegations that employees of the the bank were involved in the MMPRC graft.

President of ACC, Muawwiz Rashed on Tuesday stated at the parliament's Public Finance Committee that 38 junior and senior staff at the bank, including board members were involving in authorizing the deposit of MMPRC cheques into the accounts of SOF Pvt Ltd, the company accused of embezzling millions in state funds.

Muawwiz also revealed that the statements of the 38 employee in question are being recorded by the commission.

However, in a statement issued by BML in regard to the ongoing investigation on the MMPRC case, the bank said it strongly condemned Muawwiz's comments that implied their staff were involved in the MMPRC case.

Noting that the bank has been working closely with the authorities to provide their full support and cooperation to the ongoing investigation, the bank said that allegations were made ahead of the conclusion of this case.

The bank further said that the Bank’s internal audits as well as the audits undertaken by MMA and the Financial Intelligence Unit verified that the Bank had fully complied with its legal and regulatory obligations as prescribed under the law in handling the case. The reports did not find any wrongdoing or involvement of any of their staff, BML confirmed.

"Unfounded allegations such as these have the potential to undermine our plans as well as to impact negatively on our reputation with international correspondent banks on whom businesses and people rely on for payments and trade", the statement read.

At Tuesday's committee meeting, Muawwz repeated claims that the endorsement process was incomplete on the cheques that were deposited into SOF accounts.

While the bank has earlier denied the claims, the bank once again iterated that the cheques issued to MMPRC and deposited to SOF accounts were endorsed cheques presented to the bank. These cheques were deposited in compliance with the law, specifically the Negotiable Instruments Act 16/95, which the Bank of Maldives and all banks operating in the country conform to, they added.

Assuring that the bank would continue to cooperate in the investigation, the bank said they looked forward to the swift conclusion of the case and being cleared of the allegations against them.