BML appoints int'l firm to conduct forensic audit

The Bank of Maldives (BML) has appointed an independent external party to conduct a detailed forensic audit into the transactions relating to the MMPRC corruption.

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 were distributed through a private company called SOF Private Limited. While Maldives' main bank has been scrutinized for their alleged involvement in the graft, the bank continues to deny its culpability in the largest corruption scandal in the history of the archipelago.

A statement released by the bank said while the findings of various audits to date have not highlighted any failure as regards to MMPRC on the bank's part, the bank's Board feels that it is in the best interests of the Bank and the country to engage an independent external party to conduct a detailed investigative audit into the transactions relating to this matter.

In this regard, international consultancy firm, Deloitte Singapore with more than 150 years of experience in financial services have been engaged to conduct the audit, said BML.

As part of its work, Deloitte will review all Bank interactions with MMPRC and SOF Pvt Ltd and this will include conducting a full examination of all transactions, including endorsed cheques, as well as the reporting and control procedures in place at the time, said BML. The Bank’s current policies and procedures will also be reviewed to evaluate our strength in terms of risk management and compliance with international standards, the bank said.

The bank's decision reflects the determination of the recently appointed Board and CEO of BML to ensure that the Bank of Maldives is seen as a trusted institution with the highest levels of integrity, said BML.

The bank reiterated that it will never support financial irregularities in any form, and said they looked forward to the conclusion of the audit and engaging with the relevant authorities to support the ongoing investigations.