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Ex-VP Adeeb, former MP Nihan questioned over MMPRC graft

Ahmed Aiham
27 October 2020, MVT 12:30
Ahmed Nihan (C-L) the former parliamentary group leader of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and close aide of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
27 October 2020, MVT 12:30

Presidential Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery, on Sunday, summoned former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and former Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan, for questioning over the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) graft.

According to local media reports, Nihan also presented himself for questioning on Thursday, during which he shared his bank statements with the commission.

At the time of the scandal, Nihan, now signed to ruling coalition-aligned Jumhooree Party, was a close aide of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and was working extensively with Adeeb.

Initial reports by the Anti Corruption Commission stated that 155 individuals had benefitted from the MMPRC graft -- a number that later increased to 267.

Authorities confirm that the 300 or so suspected individuals include high-ranking officials from the incumbent and past administrations, in addition to parliament representatives, judges, members of independent bodies and officers of law enforcement.

The largest corruption case recorded in Maldives' history, the MMPRC scandal involved the embezzlement of millions in state funds, which were acquired through leasing islands and lagoons for tourism development at below-market rates.

In total MMPRC leased 37 islands and 12 lagoons for tourism purposes, resulting in an estimated loss of over MVR 4 billion to the state.

Till date, only former President Yameen and Adeeb were convicted over their involvement in the MMPRC scandal. Yameen is currently serving five years in jail, along with a fine amounting to USD 5 million, while Adeeb is serving a 20-year prison sentence with a fine of MVR 2 million.

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