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ACC investigates case of Ali Waheed and Athifa

04 December 2018, MVT 10:25
Tourism Minister Ali Waheed (R) and Housing Minister Aminath Athifa
04 December 2018, MVT 10:25

Local news Mihaaru reported that, according to reliable sources, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently investigating newly appointed Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed and Minister of Housing and Urban Development Aminath Athifa.

Both Cabinet Ministers were sworn in by the newly elected President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on November 17.

Reports suggest that the cases of both cabinet members have been under investigation for some time, although the commission has not taken any action against them.

Ali Waheed was suspected of corruption for crossing floors from Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to the ruling party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), on 20 May 2011. According to the opposition parties at the time, Ali Waheed accepted millions of US dollars in bribes to sign for MDP.

He responded to the claims stating that he did not join MDP for financial reasons.

In May 2018, Ali Waheed signed for Jumhooree Party (JP) having resigned from MDP and his position as the party's chairperson.

Following his change in affiliation, MDP accused Ali Waheed of accepting millions of US dollars in bribes. However, he responded saying that he did not join the party for financial reasons.

Minister Athifa, was accused of corruption over her appointment as project manager of the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure while also consulting for Vimla Construction, a company that managed several state-run housing projects following the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004.

According to a special report released by the Auditor General on November 8, during her time as project manager, Athifa failed to conduct due diligence in overseeing work conducted by the consultant party, costing the ministry added expenses to reconstruct previously certified work.

The issue surfaced when the Parliament's Accountability Committee made an inquiry into the existence of any ongoing investigations of corruption involving the cabinet appointees.

Despite the ACC's investigation, the committee moved forward with its approval for the ministerial appointments, stating that an investigation did not amount to evidence of corruption.

Minister Ali Waheed's seat at the cabinet was endorsed by Jumhooree Party while Athifa was brought on board by the Former President’s Maumoon Reformed Movement (MRM). Both parties are part of the ruling coalition government.

Although the graft watchdog reported findings on the recently appointed Minister of Health Ibrahim Ameen to the Prosecutor General, the office concluded there was insufficient evidence to pursue the case.

While nine members voted in the committee that approved the appointment of cabinet ministers, a final decision is required by the Parliament.

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