Prosecutor General’s office blamed for graft case delays

Prosecutor General’s office blamed for graft case delays
March 20 18:02 2018

The Prosecutor General’s office makes it hard for graft cases to be pursued in court, the Anti-Corruption Commission has said.

The Maldives Independent revealed earlier this month that the ACC sent fewer than one percent of cases for prosecution in 2017.

In its annual report the ACC pointed the finger at the PG’s office and other state institutions, saying there was a lack of coordination and cooperation.

“We face challenges in taking action against those participating in corrupt activities due to delays in prosecution of the cases sent to the Prosecutor General’s office by the commission after investigation concludes, and also as the PG without a reasonable cause decides not to prosecute cases,” said the 2017 report.

Nobody was available for comment at the ACC or PG’s office.

A lack of assistance to find documents and information related to cases also created delays in bringing people forward for questioning, the ACC said.

Last October the NGO Transparency Maldives said only one corruption-related case reached conviction between 2010 and 2014, despite 175 cases being submitted for prosecution by the ACC.

TM said one reason for low prosecution rates could be the lack of coordination between the PG and the ACC. Another could be that they had different perceptions of corruption.

“There are also some cases which are very evidently politically influenced,” said Aiman Rasheed from TM. “Some cases like justices being bribed go on while other cases do not.

“For example, we’ve had MPs openly admit to carrying bags of cash and it was not (prosecuted). The ACC may have had to investigate to show they did (investigate) but it may not have been prosecuted because of political influence.”

The ACC said it planned to create a whistle-blower app this year and establish a nationwide anti-corruption policy. TM said it was unaware of any anti-corruption policy.