Maleeh threatens to sue PG Bisham for defamation

Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mohamed Maleeh Jamal has threatened to sue Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham for defamation for naming him as a suspect in the MMPRC embezzlement and money laundering scandal.

Maleeh tweeted this Tuesday that he had received information from a reporter that Bisham had named him as a suspect in the MMPRC scandal during the closed Public Accounts Committee meeting held at the Parliament on Monday.

“I will sue the PG for defamation,” said Maleeh.

He also questioned Bisham’s intentions.

“Is this move to name a person who hasn’t been implicated to date an attempt to divert focus? The PG must not become a spinning wheel,” said Maleeh.

Bisham had been summoned by the Public Accounts Committee for updates on the investigation into the MMPRC scandal.

When asked for updates, Bisham said that several members of the Public Accounts Committee itself had been implicated in the case, as well as additional members of the current parliamentary assembly, incumbent government ministers, and members of the judiciary.

Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham (C) at the session with Public Accounts Committee on October 21, 2019. (Photo/People's Majlis)

She declined to disclose additional information regarding the case, and asked for the Public Accounts Committee members implicated in the case to excuse themselves from the session.

Following Bisham’s request, the Public Accounts Committee had passed a motion to close the session, allow Bisham to reveal the names of the members implicated in the case, and to continue with the session after removing them from proceedings.

The investigative report released by Anti-Corruption Commission on the MMPRC case earlier this year showed transfers made by SOF Private Limited – the company accused of laundering the funds embezzled from MMPRC – to several former parliamentary representatives as well as a few current government ministers.

Current government officials who were transferred money by SOF Private Limited include Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof – who received a transfer of USD 33,000 (MVR 508,860) and Minister of State for National Planning and Infrastructure, Akram Kamaaluddin who received a transfer of USD 30,000 (MVR 462,600).

Though initially placed under suspension, both were cleared of wrongdoing and reported back to duty in April.

Meanwhile, members of the 18th parliamentary assembly who were transferred money by SOF Private Limited include former Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed, former Guraidhoo MP Hussain Manik Dhonmanik, and former Hulhu-henveyru MP Reeko Moosa Manik.

Former Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Didi – who was impeached by the Parliament in late August – was also found to have received funds embezzled from MMPRC through former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor.