Anti-corruption NGO raises alarms as Court delays Youth Minister Mahloof’s bribery case

Malé, Maldives – Anti-corruption NGO Transparency Maldives has raised alarms as Criminal Court postpones Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Minister Ahmed Mahloof’s bribery case until the Covid-19 situation improves.

Minister Mahloof is charged with bribery under the Prevention and Prohibition of Corruption Act, 2000 (Act No. 2/2000) regarding the MMPRC corruption. Investigations show that Minister Mahloof had allegedly 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).

Minister Mahloof has accused the PGO of malicious prosecution and has threatened to strip the government naked if prosecuted.

The hearing set today for Minister Mahloof was cancelled due to a clerical error. Criminal Court states that the trial will be rescheduled after the Covid-19 situation improves as hearing involves all parties being physically present.

The lack of transparency on the guidelines the Court is following, as other court proceedings are ongoing, is highly concerning especially since Minister Mahloof’s case falls under serious criminal offences.

Tansparency Maldives

Transparency Maldives further state that while the Spokesperson of the President’s Office Mabrook Azeez and the President have both said that “action will be taken against public officials liked to corruption once prosecuted” and “any state officials linked to the MMPRC corruption scandal will be terminated from their posts,” no action have been taken against Youth Minister Mahloof.

The anti-corruption NGO called upon the government to create and enforce a clear & transparent system to address allegations and acts of corruption by public officials.