Malé, Maldives – Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Ahmed Mahloof has said that the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal investigation has been biased against him.
Mahloof has said this following his suspension from official duties after the investigation carried out by Maldives Police Service, Presidential Comission on Corruption and Asset Recovery and Anti Corruption Commission revealed that he had taken a bribe of USD 33,000 from the MMPRC funds which were being funneled through SOF company.
Minister Ahmed Mahloof was asked to step aside from official duties yesterday until a decision is made by the Prosecutor General after the case was sent to the Prosecutor General for raising charges against him.
Speaking for the first time since the case was sent to Prosecutor General by the Anti Corruption Commission, Mahloof had just tweeted stating that the investigation has been biased against him from the start and that he has been used as a scapegoat in the investigation.
They don’t understand that I’m not trying to stay in this position [Sports Minister] by force. The accusation is also wrong. I was accused for voting for the SEZ Bill (Special Economic Zone Bill). I was a council member of PPM when the vote was taken, I voted as per the three-line whip set out for the vote by the party.Ahmed Mahloof – Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment
Mahloof also added that Anti Corruption Commission has no legal jurisdiction over the case and that Presidential Comission on Corruption and Asset Recovery was made for this purpose and that it was clear from the presidents decree on the matter.
He also stated that the information put forward as evidence which has been collected against him was not collected in accordance with Maldivian and Sri Lankan constitution and that those evidence wouldn’t even be accepted by a court of law.
This comes while Mahloof 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 and had also pledged to resign if the case was sent for prosecution.
According to the investigation carried out by Maldives Police Service, Presidential Comission on Corruption and Asset Recovery amd Anti Corruption Commission over the MMPRC corruption, Mahloof had taken a bribe of USD 33,000 to vote for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill and also to remain in Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
The investigation also revealed that Mahloof was in Malaysia during the debate of the bill and came to Maldives to attend the vote on August 27, 2014 and voted in favor of the government to pass the bill.
The joint investigation also showed that the investigation was able to link the text messages exchanged between Mahloof and Former Vice President of Maldives, Ahmed Adeeb (Bro) and the money deposited by SOF cheque of USD 33,000 to Mahloof to the vote taken in parliament as a bribe.
Initially the Tourism Minister of the former administration, Ahmed 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.
It was also revealed that Mahloof had given forged documents to Anti-Corruption Commission in an attempt to show that the he had done a legitimate transaction to purchase dollars from SOF.
Mahloof also accused that some names from the list had been removed due to political influence before being published and that he was being treated unfairly in the investigation. Mahloof also added that if the investigation was being carried out without any bias against him that he would not remain in his position as a minister for even a single day.