Despite the ruling party’s claims, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) is not holding the incredulous USD 1 million that entered President Abdulla Yameen’s private bank account amidst the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal, a source confirmed to Mihaaru Wednesday.
Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) parliamentary group leader Villimale MP Ahmed Nihan at a press conference held Wednesday evening, responded to the graft allegations against the president, claiming that President Yameen “had not touched the money” and that it was planted there to “insinuate fraud” to potentially implicate the president.
MP Nihan went on to insist that the USD 1 million was “frozen” by ACC until its investigation into the massive corruption scandal was complete.
However, a credible source on the condition of anonymity confirmed to Mihaaru that ACC never held the questionable USD 1 million, and that it was still in President Yameen’s personal account when the case was filed without concluding properly, since the graft watchdog was unable to question some key figures involved in the scandal.
When Mihaaru asked MP Nihan why he had asserted that the large sum of money was being held by ACC, he clarified his earlier statement saying: “I said that the president had not used the money, and that ACC would know that.”
He added that when ACC’s investigation revealed that the money was transferred to President Yameen’s account from the private company SOF Pvt Ltd and that the money was left “as it is”, after the graft watchdog’s investigation uncovered how it entered the president’s account.
“Since ACC was unable to question some key suspects in the [MMPRC] scandal after they fled the country, the investigation was never fully completed. But as soon as we found out how that money appeared in the president’s account, it was left without being used – and I was saying that ACC is completely aware of this,” MP Nihan said.
The ruling party MP went on to accuse jailed former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb of depositing the money into the President Yameen’s account.
According to ACC’s report on the infamous corruption scandal, a private company had deposited USD 500,000 on two separate occasions – first on October 13, 2015 and then on October 15, 2015 – to the president’s personal account at Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB).
The MMPRC scandal is the largest case of corruption in the history of the Maldives, where over MVR 1.2 billion state funds, which were acquired as island leases for resort development, were embezzled via the corporation.