Complaint regarding ACC member Ashraf's business dealings surfaces

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) member Ali Ashraf.

A complaint regarding Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) member Ali Ashraf for violating the ethics and disciplinary code of the ACC has been lodged with the police by a private individual.

The letter addressed to Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed and the Parliament read that the ethics code for ACC members state that members are not permitted to work in other posts. Members cannot conduct private businesses, work for another, and actively take part in business ventures.

The letter read that the individual has been made aware of Ashraf’s involvement in other businesses. Ashraf owned a 50 percent stake in Buildcraft Private Limited and a 10 percent stake in MMS Holding Private Limited as well as a 33 percent stake in Focus Education Private Limited according to the letter.

Ashraf is also the Managing Director of Buildcraft and a director at MMS Holdings. Economic Ministry records also show the same. Shares in Focus and MMS are also seen on the Economic Ministry records, according to the Ministry.

The financial statement presented by Ashraf when he applied for the ACC, also shows that he owned the shares in the companies. Upon appointment to the Commission, members are to relinquish any such business interests.

Information that Ashraf had not informed the Economic Ministry of relinquishing or transferring his shares in the companies and that he keeps on attending the offices of the companies after ten months since he was appointed to the ACC were also obtained by the individual who submitted the complaint.

Such actions by members, lead the public to question the fairness, independence, and transparency of the ACC, according to the letter which also called to assess whether the remaining members of the ACC were compliant with this requirement. 

The complaint called to investigate the matter and ensure the independence of the corruption watchdog and even requested to investigate any criminal activities after the complainant likened the matter to the recent case of former Criminal Court judge Ahmed Hailam who in being investigated for money laundering.

Speaking to Sun regarding the complaint, ACC president Mariyam Shiuna said that members were not prohibited from owning shares in businesses through a law.

“Taking part actively in the business is prohibited. Previous members of the Commission also had shares in businesses. The shares were declared in the financial statements submitted to the Auditor General’s Office by members.” Said Shiuna.

Shiuna said that the complaint regarding Ashraf’s attendance to company offices for work purposes mentioned in the letter is to be scrutinized by institutions. 

No comment on the matter is yet available from the police or the parliament.