Charges filed against ex-MP in relation to MMPRC graft

Multiple charges have been raised against former Villimale’ MP Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik in relation to the MMPRC graft.

The Prosecutor General’s Office Tuesday said the charges were filed against Nihan after investigations found that Nihan was a recipient of money linked to money laundering. According to the PGO, six charges were pressed against Nihan at the Criminal Court on Tuesday.

PGO said that the joint investigation by Maldives Police Service, the Anti Corruption Commission, and the presidential commission investigating corruption had found that Nihan had asked for and accepted bribes from former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor in exchange for influence on his decisions as Villimale’ MP and as the Chair of the Parliament’s Public Finance Committee. He had also kept, and used funds obtained illegally, said PGO. The funds in question were not declared by Nihan in his financial statements between 2014 and 2019.

Therefore, six charges have been raised against Nihan under the ‘Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act’.

Nihan received a USD 50,000 cheque from SOF Private Limited through the then Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb in order to influence his decisions as a member of the Parliament. Even though Nihan was aware that the funds in question were likely obtained illegally, Nihan had utilized the funds together with other funds to purchase an apartment from Platinum Residences, said PGO. Money laundering and bribery charges were raised against Nihan for the actions.

Additional charges for asking for and accepting bribery have also been raised against Nihan for asking for a Rolex watch as a bribe in relation to the vote taken in 2014 to appoint a Prosecutor General, and the vote taken the same year to appoint a member of the parliament as a member of the Judicial Service Commission. PGO said the bribe was accepted by Nihan.

An additional count of asking for and accepting bribes has been raised against Nihan for asking then Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb for a bribe of MVR 650,000 in exchange for influence over his decisions as a parliamentarian.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has requested the Criminal Court to seize all funds and assets he obtained illegally.

A travel ban has been imposed on Nihan, who was the majority leader representing the then-ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) during the 18th Parliament.

Nihan was earlier summoned to the Asset Recovery Commission for questioning. The Asset Recovery Commission has confirmed that Nihan was summoned for questioning last October. However, no details were shared.

Nihan, who was a top PPM member, has since left the party and joined Jumhooree Party, which is part of the ruling coalition. He has been playing an active role in the party, and has been taking part in and speaking at all rallies organized by the party.

Several parliamentarians and government officials, both from the previous and current administration are said to have received funds from the MMPRC graft.