The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), on Tuesday, revealed that 35 corruption-related cases will be forwarded to the Prosecutor General's (PG) Office for indictment against implicated suspects within 2020.
Addressing concerns about the delays in investigating the corruption scandals of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's administration, ACC's President Mariyam Shiuna told the Parliamentary Committee on Independent Institutions that efforts are underway to prosecute a total of 70 cases, out of which 35 will reach trial by the end of 2020.
"We have now organised tasks with the target to commence duty [prosecution] of five cases each week", Shiuna stated, referring to discussions held with the PG Office.
According to Shiuna, ACC concluded probes into a total of 1,201 complaints after she was appointed as the commission's president, including 392 cases between September 2019 and June 2020.
"We forwarded 11 out of the 392 cases for prosecution. In addition, we ordered policy changes over 57 cases. We also ordered administrative action regarding six cases and process reversal in 18 cases", she added.
Speaking at the committee, Shiuna further revealed that, since her appointment, 11 charges were pressed in relation to the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) embezzlement scandal, which cost a potential loss of MVR 4 billion in state funds.
An additional five cases concerning the MMPRC graft will be forwarded to the PG Office during August, she said. However, Shiuna did not disclose further details about these cases.
The ACC president stated that 152 of the 832 pending cases were obstructed due to lockdown restrictions implemented over COVID-19, and the reduction of MVR 7 million from the watchdog's budget. Continuing these 152 probes require travelling out of the Greater Male' Region, Shiuna said.
Noting that conducting online investigations will impede the probe, ACC's Vice President Fathimath Anoola added that the commission's investigations into these cases have now resumed following the end of lockdown.
Shiuna disclosed that the state stands to gain a total of MVR 3.6 million from the cases that ACC forwarded for prosecution during 2019. Although the government has requested ACC to recover over MVR 190 million of lost funds, she revealed that only MVR 90,449 have been recovered so far.
"There is more work to be done through [Ministry of Finance], courts and others to recover the additional missing funds", Shiuna said, adding that ACC had taken necessary action to regain the funds.
When the ruling party's parliamentary representative of Laamu Atoll's Gan constituency Mohamed Wisam accused ACC of slacking off, Shiuna retorted that ACC's members do not "miss workdays, take sick leaves and only 'heat the chair'".
Insisting that all members attend work daily, Shiuna stated that a lot of progress was made within the last 11 months, such as reforming the internal workings of ACC and concluding investigations.