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Parliament committee to summon MMA Governor

20 February 2019, MVT 09:54
Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) Ahmed Naseer. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU
20 February 2019, MVT 09:54

Parliament Member of Galolhu North constituency, Eva Abdulla, submitted a case to the relevant committee of parliament on Tuesday to summon the Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), Ahmed Naseer, regarding the sudden termination of former head of MMA's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Abdulla Ashraf.

Eva raised two complications in the case of Governor Naseer.

Eva’s letter stated that Ashraf was removed from position while the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was investigating the questionable MVR 1 million transaction between former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and ACC’s escrow account. Eva further stated that there was also a case of Yameen’s campaign expenditure submitted to ACC at the time of Ashraf’s dismissal.

FIU is an independent unit established in MMA under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act. FIU is the main body to halt such activities and report them to relevant authorities. The head of this unit is appointed by the Governor of MMA.

Prior to Ashraf, Athif Shakoor filled the position of Head of FIU. Athif resigned in 2015 while FIU’s report had already shown questionable transactions of the embezzled funds from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and private company SOF. The questionable USD 1 million to Yameen's Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) account was deposited by the latter.

ACC ordered Yameen to pay the USD 1 million to the government, after concluding that the money came from the MVR 1.3 billion embezzled from MMPRC and siphoned to SOF. However, Yameen denied the claim and reached an agreement with ACC to transfer the money to an escrow account, placing the money under ACC’s surveillance.

Even though the agreement was to transfer the funds in Yameen’s MIB account to the escrow account, the money he transferred were not from his MIB account.

Police suspect that Yameen laundered the USD 1 million transferred to his MIB account from SOF. Yameen is currently charged with money laundering, and detained until the end of this trial.

Additionally, Maldives Police Service is also investigating the case of MVR 22.5 million transferred to Yameen’s account two weeks prior to the 2018 Presidential Elections. FIU reported to Police that MVR 10 million was transferred on September 5, while MVR 12.5 million was transferred on September 10.