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ACC Chief under investigation over money laundering

Ahmed Aiham
17 February 2019, MVT 22:06
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) President Hassan Luthfee. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
17 February 2019, MVT 22:06

Maldives Police Service began their investigation into Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s President Hassan Luthfee over money laundering in regards to the graft corruption of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

Police were only able to confirm that an investigation into the ACC chief was underway but did not disclose any further details.

Police are currently summoning those implicated in the case for further investigation. However, Luthfee is yet to be summoned over the matter.

Luthfee recently departed to Malaysia, where his family resides.

Luthfee and other commission members have been under stark criticism over negligence in the laundering of over USD 1 million that was deposited into former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s personal account at Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB).

Yameen has since been charged with money laundering by the Prosecutor General (PG)

Luthfee has been accused of protecting the former president regarding the case, since ACC did not freeze Yameen's account despite the questionable deposit made by SOF. Instead, ACC entered an agreement with Yameen to transfer the money to an escrow account in Bank of Maldives.

Escrow accounts are a financial instrument held by a third party on behalf of two other parties that are in the process of completing a transaction. The funds or assets are held by the escrow agent until all parties reach a legal decision. Escrow accounts are often created in relation to legal issues faced by two parties until the parties can come to a legal solution.

The escrow account created under Bank of Maldives (BML) is the first instance where ACC created one.

Some lawyers claim that ACC cannot legally create the account, adding that ACC's legal power would be to freeze the funds syphoned to Yameen's account through SOF Pvt Ltd.

Moreover, ACC allegedly violated procedures when acquiring a statement from Yameen regarding the MMPRC corruption case, according to local reports.

Furthermore, local media Mihaaru claims to have uncovered that Yameen did not wish to be questioned for ACC's investigation, and even after multiple requests by the commission, he did not comply with them.

Following the refusal to cooperate, ACC approached the Prosecutor General. After discussions took place between ACC and PG, Yameen requested to ACC to send the information they sought in writing.