Corruption Governance Legal Politics

Four corruption cases filed for prosecution in Q3

The country’s anti-corruption watchdog filed just a handful of cases for prosecution during the third quarter of 2017, despite investigating 265 cases during that period.

The monthly case reports for the year were released Wednesday by the Anti-Corruption Commission and showed the body investigated a total of 815 cases up until the third quarter, out of which only 10 were forwarded for prosecution.

It recommended probes and actions to be implemented by the agencies and ministries under scrutiny in most cases, also deciding not to investigate 62 cases submitted to the ACC by the public.

The most prominent case the ACC decided not to pursue was a case involving the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation corruption scandal.

The ACC confirmed longstanding allegations that US$1 million was deposited into President Abdulla Yameen’s private account at the Maldives Islamic Bank by the company used to funnel the MMPRC loot.

Both Yameen and his jailed former deputy were questioned for the ACC inquiry, the watchdog said, but the case was “filed” until the company’s secretary who deposited the two cheques worth US$500,000 each in October 2015 could be summoned for questioning.

The police have also been unable to bring back the company’s secretary and shareholders to the Maldives despite issuing an Interpol red notice, the ACC said, claiming the investigation could not proceed without their statements.

The watchdog did not provide further details.

In another high-profile case, the ACC decided there was no corruption involved in allegations by a former civil court judge that she was offered bribes worth MVR77 million (US$5 million).

Aisha Shujoon, appearing on a TV show after resigning as a judge, said she declined the offer and the person who offered the bribe left after she got angry.

The ACC ruled there was no corruption due to lack of information regarding the allegation.

In another case ruled “corruption-free” the ACC said the leasing of two state-owned flats to President Yameen’s son Zain Abdulla Yameen complied with regulations and procedures.

The flats in Malé were leased to Zain below the market price.

In October, Transparency Maldives released a report assessing the ACC. Anti-corruption watchdogs in Bangladesh and Bhutan were rated higher than the one in the Maldives, which got an overall score of 58.

The NGO was also critical of parliament, saying on Twitter it had failed to carry out its oversight function and that practical oversight of the ACC was “non-existent”.

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