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BML appoints Deloitte Singapore for audit over MMPRC scandal

Shahudha Mohamed
11 November 2019, MVT 18:57
Bank of Maldives' main branch at Boduthakurufaanu Magu in capital Male'. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
11 November 2019, MVT 18:57

Bank of Maldives (BML) on Monday announced that the bank engaged international consultancy firm Deloitte Singapore to conduct an independent forensic audit into the bank's activities.

According to the bank, Deloitte will review all bank interactions with Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and SOF Pvt Ltd -- conducting a full examination of all transactions, including endorsed cheques, as well as the reporting and control procedures in place at the time.

BML states that the bank’s current policies and procedures will also be reviewed to evaluate BML's strengths in terms of risk management and compliance with international standards.

A press release by the bank noted that the review reflects the determination of the recently appointed Board and CEO to ensure that "BML is seen as a trusted institution with the highest levels of integrity".

As part of the measures taken to attain this goal, the bank will also recruit a new Chief Risk Officer to focus on risk and compliance policies.

The MMPRC fraud was the largest recorded corruption scandal that took place in Maldivian history. Although authorities estimate that the state lost a total of MVR 3.4 billion due to illegal land leasing, some suspect that the actual loss is even higher.

BML came under fire for completing transactions of 'non-negotiable' cheques, which were signed over to SOF as the acquisition cost of islands leased for resort development by MMPRC, into SOF accounts.

Noting that the findings of various audits to date have not highlighted any failure as regards to MMPRC on the part of the bank, BML maintained that the bank will never support financial irregularities in any form.

"However, as investigations into MMPRC continue, the Board feels that it is in the best interests of the bank and the country to engage an independent external party to conduct a detailed investigative audit into the transactions relating to this matter".

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