Youth Minister Mahloof’s bribery case to go back to trial

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Ahmed Mahloof | Photo: Sun

Malé, Maldives – The Maldives High Court on Monday revoked the Criminal Court decision to reject the bribery case against Minister Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof.

The Criminal Court rejected the case stating that the case cannot be taken forward in a civil standard, as the evidence submitted by the state is not sufficient enough to prove Mahloof being guilty.

Prosecutor General’s Office appealed the Criminal Court decision at the High Court with a majority of three judges panel deciding in favour of the prosecution. The High Court stated that the Criminal Court did not take all the evidence into account in making their decision.

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).

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.

Investigations 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.

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. He has also accused the PGO of malicious prosecution and threatened that the government would be stripped naked if they decide to prosecute.