Bank staff arrested over leak of transactions by company in MMPRC scandal

Bank staff arrested over leak of transactions by company in MMPRC scandal
February 22 17:15 2016

A senior national bank staff was arrested Thursday on a charge of leaking details of financial transactions by a company involved in the Maldives’ biggest ever corruption scandal.

Gasim Abdul Kareem, 50 years, manager at the Bank of Maldives’ Nilandhoo branch, is accused of revealing confidential information, eavesdropping and spying, according to the arrest warrant obtained by The Maldives Independent.

A court has remanded Gasim for a further five days.

Sources familiar with the matter said Gasim had emailed screen shots of transactions made by SOF Pvt Ltd, a company which had channelled the bulk of some US$80million from public funds obtained through resort leases to private accounts. The emails were sent to some 500 staff at the bank and forwarded to another 99 people.

The BML said it had filed the case with the relevant authorities.

“Protecting the customer’s account details is one of the bank’s biggest priorities. The bank has a set of strict rules and regulations that the staff have to abide by to protect the confidentiality of the customers’ information. Action is always taken against staff that go against these regulations,” a statement by the bank read.

According to a damning audit report of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation, some US$70 million was siphoned into the bank account of SOF Pvt Ltd, owned by Mohamed Allam Latheef ‘Moho,’ a close associate of former vice president Ahmed Adeeb who is currently on trial for embezzling funds from the MMPRC along with the tourism promotion firm’s former managing director Abdulla Ziyath.

Allam, the lead singer of a popular local band called Scores of Flair, was among eight suspects wanted in connection with the alleged assassination attempt. An Interpol red notice has since been issued for his arrest.

Following the release of the audit report earlier this month, SOF claimed that it had provided a “brokerage” service to the MMPRC and distributed the funds as requested to the first couple, the ruling party, and prominent politicians.

The government has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

President Abdulla Yameen has since asked the Maldives Islamic Bank to disclose details of his private bank account to the anti-corruption watchdog.

The MIB had refused to share information with the Anti-Corruption Commission for its investigation into the MMPRC fraud.