Male’, Maldives – The Complaints Committee has stated that the candidacy of Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof for the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) National Council elections was disqualified justly.
Mahloof was disqualified on August 17 via a letter citing that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has informed MDP that there is a case against Mahloof lodged at the Commission. The letter noted that the MDP’s National Executive Committee had earlier decided that an individual involved in a corruption case by any authority will not be eligible to compete in the National Council elections.
Minister Mahloof criticized the decision as ‘inexplicable’ and stated that he is eligible to contest for the post of the president, a parliament member, and also a local council member as no criminal charges against him has been proven in court to date. Following this, Mahloof filed a complaint at the Elections Commission, requesting to reconsider the decision to disqualify him from the elections.
Responding to the complaint presented by Minister Mahloof, the Complaints Committee stated that although an individual appointed to a position by the President fulfills all the necessary requirements mentioned in the constitution, the law agrees to present certain requirements for the individuals who would compete in the National MDP council elections as the individuals are not elected for the National Council after considering their position. Hence, the Committee noted that the decision to disqualify Minister Mahloof cannot be legally considered as differentiating.
In addition to this, the Committee noted that according to the fourth condition in the decree of the National Committee on April 24 for the elections, if the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has sent a case to any institution against an individual regarding the MMPRC corruption case, then they would not qualify for the conditions required to compete in the elections.
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.
According to the investigation carried out by Maldives Police Service, Presidential Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery and 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).
In addition to this, 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.
Mahloof, in his defence, says that he was a PPM Council member at the time of the vote of SEZ bill and voted as per the three-line whip set out for the vote by the party.
It was also revealed that Mahloof had given forged documents to Anti-Corruption Commission in an attempt to show that he had done a legitimate transaction to purchase dollars from SOF.
On the contrary, Mahloof 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.