Maldives vows to recover funds stolen in tourism graft

Attorney General Mohamed Anil speaks to reporters. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Attorney General Mohamed Anil speaks to reporters. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Attorney General Mohamed Anil vowed Wednesday that the current government will recover the MVR 1.2 billion that had been embezzled by the Maldives’ main tourism promotion body last year in the largest corruption scandal in the history of the archipelago.

Speaking at the press conference held at the President’s Office to announce plans to celebrate the third anniversary of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s regime, the attorney general said in response to a journalist’s inquiry that the government is currently awaiting the Anti-Corruption Committee’s investigation report over Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC)’s embezzlement case. He vowed that charges against the perpetrators will be forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office as soon as ACC completes its report.

“It is this government’s priority to recover the money lost via the judicial process from those that were negligent. This government will recover that money.”

MMPRC had mediated the leasing of over 59 different tourist hotels, resorts and yacht marinas out of which 53 had been leased through an agreement with the tourism ministry over a year ago. The funds received by MMPRC, amounting to a staggering MVR 1.2 billion according to the Audit report, was distributed through a private company.

ACC had stated that its investigation into MMPRC’s corruption case is almost at and end. However, the commission has yet to finalise a release date for its report. According to ACC, there are not much discrepancies between the amount of money lost as stated by the Audit Office and the information received by ACC.

In response to public criticism over the delayed report, ACC said the delay is caused due to the nature of the case as well as it being the largest investigation yet conducted by the commission.

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