Prosecutor General’s Office denies Mahloof’s allegations

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem speaks at a press conference on August 3, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has denied allegations by Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof that the office is deliberately delaying the corruption case against him in order to produce a specific outcome. 

Mahloof has accused Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s chief Mariyam Shiuna and Corruption and Asset Recovery Commission’s chief Ahmed Assad of influencing the case against him, including pressuring the Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem to delay the case. He has also accused authorities of obtaining witness statements illegally, and of lack of evidence to prove the case against him in a court of law. 

PGO spokesperson, Public Prosecutor Ahmed Shafeeu responded on Sunday that decisions regarding prosecution in some big cases require clarification of additional information along with additional work in collaboration with investigative agencies, and therefore takes time. 

“This is what happened with the case against Mahloof as well. This does not mean we are treating Mahloof differently,” he said. 

Shafeeu said that the allegations may be Mahloof’s personal opinion, but are, nevertheless, untrue. 

He said the PGO makes decisions regarding prosecution based on evidence, and verifies that the evidence collected by investigation agencies were obtained legally. 

“We provide assurance we will not treat anyone in violation of the law,” he said. 

ACC requested the PGO for charges against Mahloof in connection to the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) case on June 9. 

ACC said their investigation found that in 2014, then-parliamentarian Mahloof received USD 33,000 in funds stolen from MMPRC as a bribe from then-Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor to remain a member of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and vote for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill. 

ACC said Mahloof arrived at the Parliament on August 27, 2014, after travelling from Malaysia, for the sole purpose of voting for the SEZ Bill. 

However, Mahloof rejected the allegation, stating that he voted in accordance with the three-line whip issued by PPM. 

ACC found a USD 33,000 cheque was deposited to Mahloof’s bank account by SOF Private Limited – the company accused of laundering the stolen funds. 

ACC said that though Mahloof submitted a ‘Payment Received’ slip in the name of SOF as evidence it had been a legitimate business transaction to procure US dollars, the commission had witnesses and other evidence as proof it had not been a legitimate business transaction. 

Mahloof has been placed under suspension pending the decision of Prosecutor General’s Office regarding pressing charges.