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5 police officers suspended over MMPRC graft

Shahudha Mohamed
26 June 2020, MVT 17:29
Police officers during the special operation conducted as part of the Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances' probe in September 2019. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED / MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
26 June 2020, MVT 17:29

Maldives Police Service revealed on Thursday that five officers implicated in the MVR 1.3 billion graft of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) have been suspended as authorities probe their cases.

According to a spokesperson from police, the five accused officers are still employed at the institution, but they have been suspended from active duty.

Reports released by investigative bodies last October list 267 individuals amongst those who benefitted from the largest corruption scandal recorded in the history of Maldives.

A total of 44 former MPs, 16 currently serving MPs, five members from independent institutions, 30 senior officials from Yameen's government, six senior officials of the incumbent government, seven (currently serving and former) judges and seven officers from national security services had ties to the graft.

The million-dollar embezzlement case is being investigated by police, in collaboration with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), the Presidential Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery, and the Prosecutor General's (PG) Office.

Investigations into the MMPRC scandal commenced in 2015, and several cases were forwarded to the Prosecutor General's Office last year for indictment.

Although police claimed that authorities have collected evidence of corruption, investigations have proceeded at a snail's pace, and only a few individuals have been charged during the past half-decade.

Explaining the delay, Commissioner of Police (CP) Mohamed Hameed stated that many powerful and influential individuals belonging to the current and past administrations are involved in the graft.

However, he added that the investigation will not turn a blind eye to certain culprits.

Police state that former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb masterminded the MMPRC fraud, with the assistance of MMPRC's former Managing Director Abdulla Ziyath.

Both of these suspects are currently under house arrest.

Out of those heavily accused of their involvement in embezzling the MMPRC state funds, only former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is serving jail time.

Yameen was convicted of money laundering over a transaction that involved a deposit of USD 1 million by SOF Pvt Ltd, to his personal account at Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB).

The Criminal Court sentenced the ex-president to five years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of USD 5 million over the money laundering charges.

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