MMPRC List: Nizar speaks out against Gov.

Addu City Mayoral candidate Ali Nizar casting his vote | Photo: The Times of Addu

Addu City, Maldives – Addu City Mayor-elect, Ali Nizar has said that the current administration is showing clear signs of a failed state.

Nizar’s criticism comes after his name was seen on the MMPRC corruption list released by the joint parliament committee earlier today.

In a tweet he posted earlier today, Nizar said that it was an attempt of character assassination against him for including his name with a list of thieves stating that the investigation was at “information collection” level.

The list was released along with the joint committee report and the unaltered list of 281 individuals who are being investigated by the Asset Recovery Commission, with the commission’s stamp. The report also includes an unaltered list of 119 employees of the state complicit in the MMPRC corruption. 

While employees of the state can be removed from office, individuals in political positions must resign voluntarily or be removed from office after being sentenced by a court. 

The full list is available from the parliament website through this link.

Leaked documents of  Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption case investigation which circulated in social media prior to today had also revealed that Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leaders have been implicated in the case. 

According to leaked documents on social media, Chairperson of MDP, Hassan Latheef, Vice President of MDP, Mohamed Shifaz and Parliamentary Group leader, Ali Azim have taken money from the MMPRC case for various political reasons, however, in the list published by the parliament, only Ali Azim’s name was implicated.

The leaked documents which also include chat logs between Ali Azim and Former Vice President Adeeb who was well known as “Bro” and was the most influential minister during the previous administration who rose within the political ranks to be Vice President of the Maldives after an orchestrated no confidence vote of the then Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who is now again back in the opposition PPM as an advisor. 

Adeeb was accused of using state funds which he and his close allies embezzled which he used to bribe politicians, judges and others in high positions in different institutions when he was in the government and he was also well known for funding local gangs. 

From the chat logs, it was revealed that MVR 1 million was delivered to Ali Azim at his house by Mohamed Hussain (Oittey) who was a close accomplice of Adeeb (Bro) in August 2015. It also revealed that from the forensic analysis of Adeeb’s mobile phone conversations, money from MMPRC case was given to Ali Azim in order for Adeeb to receive information of MDP parliamentary group on major votes at parliament and to bribe other parliamentarians.

Due to allegations of being named on the MMPRC corruption list investigated by the 241 committee, Ali Azim has been removed from the 241 committee and he says that so far the Asset Recovery Commission nor the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has questioned him regarding the matter. He also accused the leaked documents to be fake. 

While Chairperson of MDP and the MP for West Henveiru, Hassan Latheef was voted in as the Committee Vice-Chair instead of MP Azim during the Committee meeting, Hassan Latheef has also been revealed to have received MMPRC corruption money from Adeeb. According to the leaked documents, Hassan Latheef received MVR 5 million to carry out the activities of Maldives United Opposition (MUO) which was the main opposition movement carried out in Maldives lead by MDP during the former administration. 

In addition to Azim, Youth Minister Mahloof was also implicated with the investigation status as “ready to be prosecuted”.

While the Asset Recovery Commission has decided to prosecute Minister Mahloof for being involved in the corruption scandal, as this is a joint investigation, sources inform that it has been days since the Commission had sent the matter to the Police, according to local news “Adhadhu”.

While information that was previously leaked reveals that Minister Mahloof recieved USD 33,000 from the MMPRC scandal, he had earlier denied of wrongdoings and stated that it was money taken to purchase dollar and that he was not aware that the money was part of the corruption.

I don’t have to steal USD 33,000. I’ll say this very clearly that even the political leaders will be well aware that USD 33,000 is not something I need to steal.

Minister Mahloof, regarding MMPRC corruption.

Mahloof stated that he was among the firsts to call on to investigate the MMPRC matter and that he is not involved in this corruption activity.

While Minister Mahloof has been confirmed to be included in the list of those involved in the MMPRC scandal, the Joint Committee report made in collaboration with the National Security Services committee (commonly known as 241 committee) and Judiciary committee regarding the major MMPRC corruption case has been passed to terminate the employees who are working in state positions if they are accused of being a part of the MMPRC corruption.

Some of the things presented by the Committee includes of a request to the Asset Recovery Commission to fasten the work as some of the people who are being accused of this scandal are considered to be influential people. Along with this, the Committee also urged the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) members and professional equipment to investigate the matter.

The list had names of people suspected of benefiting from the largest corruption scandal in the country and that people who used to work and some who are still working in the security forces, judiciary, independent institutions and as parliamentarians were implicated in the scandal. 

It also revealed that people who stole over USD 70 million from the country held or are still holding government positions such as state ministers and ministers have also been implicated from the list sent by Corruption and Asset Recovery Commission to the parliament. 

The Chairperson of Parliament Judiciary Committee, Imthiyaz Fahmy had assured that the committee will release the MMPRC corruption original list as sent by the Presidential Commission on Asset Recovery with the stamp and that the leaked list currently circulating on social media is a fake, used as a divisive tactic to overshadow the actual work being done by the committee.

In addition to this, MDP Vice President and Minister of Presidents Office, Mohamed Shifaz also received MVR 2 million from MMPRC money by Adeeb to carry out protests and rallies according to the leaked documents. 

These leaked documents comes while Parliament of Maldives announced that Corruption and Asset Recovery Commission has sent the list of those who received money from Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal on May 6, 2021. 

In an announcement released by the parliament, it was revealed that Prosecutor General (PG) Office, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Asset Recovery Commission and the Police had sent the information requested by MP Hassan Latheef. 

MP Hassan Latheef had requested Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed to request the institutions to get the information claiming that Parliament Committee on National Safety (241 Committee) chair MP Mohamed Aslam has not been proactive in trying to find information on the MMPRC corruption scandal. 

The announcement stated that the list had names of people suspected of benefiting from the largest corruption scandal in the country and that people who used to work and some who are still working in the security forces, judiciary, independent institutions and as parliamentarians were implicated in the scandal. 

It also revealed that people who held or are still holding government positions such as state ministers and ministers have also been implicated from the list sent by Corruption and Asset Recovery Commission to the parliament. 

The list of those implicated in the MMPRC corruption scandal has been sent to parliament while Speaker Nasheed had told in an earlier parliament sitting that he would do anything to ensure that the investigation gets completed even if parliamentarians and ministers are implicated. 

Speaker Nasheed also added that over 270 peoples names had been identified as those who had received the money from MMPRC scandal in one way or the other and that all of them would be tried at court. He also added that those who benefited from over USD 70 million stolen from the state included members of parliament, ministers and other senior officials in various institutions in Maldives. 

He also told that a detailed report with the money trail details and other proof had been sent to the relevant government commission and that he has no double that the government would take the necessary actions against all of them. 

Speaker Nasheed’s remarks on the subject in parliament came while MDP had passed not to allow anyone who had been implicated in the grand scandals to run for their internal elections. 

In the national steering committee meeting held on April 24, 2021 in Malé City, MP for Maafannu central constituency, Ibrahim Rasheed (Bondey) submitted a decree which stated that people competing for the parties national council must have certain requirements to meet. 

MP Bondey specifically had stated that those who have been implicated in the MVR 3.4 billion MMPRC grand scanda, those who had their names sent to various investigative authorities by Anti Corruption Commission regarding ongoing investigations and those who have been accused in criminal acts by Presidential Commission on Unresolved Murders and Enforced Disappearances cannot compete for the national council. 

In addition to this, people who have been accused of rape and other sexual abuse cases also cannot compete in the party’s internal elections. The national steering committee had also decided that people who have joined the party less than a year ago also cannot compete. 

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had announced to hold the party’s National Council elections of May 29, 2021. The party stated that only members registered to the constituencies would be eligible to vote for administrative committees of the constituencies election and provincial elections. 

MDP also added that only those who were registered as members until April 18, 2021 would be eligible to vote and that membership applications till May 29, 2021 will be put on a halt.

While MDP members including MDP leadership members have started to campaign for the internal elections of the party, Speaker of Parliament and President of MDP, Mohamed Nasheed had informed that he has interest to become Prime Minister, which is expected to heat up the MDP internal election campaigns.