The President’s Office urged the Prosecutor General’s Office to expedite a decision on whether it will pursue criminal charges against Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof on Wednesday, stating that the Sports Ministry being run for so long without a Sports Minister is of immense concern to the government.
In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, President’s Office spokesperson Mabrook Azeez said that though Mahloof has been under suspension since June, the government will not choose “a wrong path” to lift his suspension.
“The government will not get involved in this. Minister Mahloof has been suspected of specific crimes and the case is with the Prosecutor General. There is nothing much the government can do in this, even in the way of expediting it,” he said.
Mabrook said the government urges the Prosecutor General’s Office to make a decision.
“We appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office to expedite this case. To make a decision,” he said. “The government wishes for this to be expedited and a decision made.”
Mahloof was placed under suspension in June after the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) requested charges against him with the Prosecutor General’s Office.
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.
Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom is serving as Acting Sports Minister as the Prosecutor General’s Office deliberates on whether to pursue charges against Mahloof.