Adeeb questioned over stolen funds in president’s account

Adeeb questioned over stolen funds in president’s account
July 27 13:31 2016

The anti-corruption watchdog has questioned jailed former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb over stolen funds alleged to have been deposited into President Abdulla Yameen’s personal bank account.

Adeeb’s lawyer Moosa Siraj confirmed to The Maldives Independent that his client was questioned last week by the Anti-Corruption Commission about large sums deposited to the president’s account at the Maldives Islamic Bank.

“I am unable to reveal any details,” he said.

“My client is being questioned in Maafushi prison by ACC investigators. He is also being questioned regarding the [Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation] corruption scandal.”

Since his arrest last October on suspicion of plotting to assassinate the president, Adeeb has been sentenced to 33 years in prison on multiple counts of terrorism and corruption.

He is also facing more than 50 counts of graft over the theft of nearly US$80 million from the MMPRC.

Shortly after the unprecedented scale of the embezzlement from the state-owned tourism promotion company was exposed in an audit report last February, the opposition claimed it had evidence that some US$500,000 from the stolen funds was deposited in Yameen’s account at the MIB on October 12.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party previously published a slip of the transaction.

But Yameen denied allegations of his involvement, pinning the blame for the scandal on his jailed deputy, and pledged to cooperate with the ACC investigation.

ACC officials were not responding to calls at the time of publication.

However, ACC Vice President Muaviz Rasheed told newspaper Mihaaru that the corruption probe is still ongoing. The commission’s investigators have been questioning various people, he said.

The Maldives Islamic Bank at first refused to disclose details of Yameen’s bank account, but later shared the information with the ACC.

Former Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim, who lost his job in 2014 after flagging the misuse of funds from MMPRC, has meanwhile raised doubts over the possibility of an independent investigation.

The ruling party has systematically paralysed watchdog institutions, he said.