ACC to review illegal fuel trade case

President of Anti-Corruption Commission Mariyam Shiuna speaks to the press on October 15, 2019. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), on Saturday, announced the decision to open a review into the alleged illegal fuel trade run by STO Maldives Singapore Private Limited, a subsidiary of State Trading Organization (STO), during former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s administration.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, after he succeeded Maumoon in 2008, hired Grant Thornton, an accounting firm based in UK, to trace the funds believed to have been embezzled in the illegal fuel trade and facilitate the recovery of the missing funds.

 The case made its way back to the headlines last week, after West Henveyru lawmaker Mohamed Falah presented a motion to the Parliament, alleging that former President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, who succeeded Nasheed in 2012, had covered up a report compiled by Grant Thornton following its investigation into the case.

Vilimale’ lawmaker Ahmed Usham, a former Deputy Attorney General, called the motion a misrepresentation of the facts.

He said that Grant Thornton never compiled a final report, and had handed over all working files to the Attorney General’s Office following the termination of the contract between the firm and the Maldivian government in 2013.

He said the working files were immediately handed over to the ACC.

The ACC, in a statement on Saturday, confirmed the files had been handed over in 2013, and that the files remained with the commission.

ACC said that it began investigating the illegal fuel trade case following a report lodged with the commission in 2011. The commission made the decision to file the case due to lack of sufficient evidence to continue the investigation on May 1, 2018 – during the previous term of the commission.

The commission said it has made the decision to review the case once more.

“We hereby inform you that the commission has made the decision to review this case,” said ACC in its statement.

Grant Thornton was hired to recover an estimated USD 800 million in missing funds during the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed, who now serves as the Parliament’s Speaker.

In the preliminary debate held on Falah’s motion, Nasheed said his administration  fell the same day it had been scheduled to release Grant Thornton’s report.

However, according to Usham, a final report on the case was never prepared.