Leaked audio implicates acting prisons chief in bribery

Leaked audio implicates acting prisons chief in bribery
April 24 21:14 2016

A private TV channel has leaked an audio clip of a phone conversation between Deputy Commissioner of Prisons and an unidentified man, discussing the unlawful release of an inmate and the solicitation of a bribe.

In phone conversation leaked by Raajje TV, Hassan Zilaal who now heads Maldives Correctional Services is heard explaining how the prisoner will eventually be freed in a week’s time.

“Hopefully, he will be sent to Malé tomorrow, he will be transferred to Malé Jail, and classes will be conducted for them [transferred inmates] for a week there, after the classes are done with, we will release him hopefully,” Zilaal is heard saying.

Zilaal was assigned the head of MCS last week, following Mohamed Husham, Commissioner of Prisons’ suspension over an unspecified ongoing investigation.

He was officially dismissed from the post today, and Ahmed Shihan was appointed as the Commissioner of Prisons.

According to Raajje TV, the case was investigated by police on request from MCS.

Police and home ministry was unable to comment on the matter immediately.

The broadcaster also claimed that it had received a copy of the letter sent to home ministry by the police after concluding the investigation. Specifics of the letter were not revealed.

The unidentified male heard in the phone call also requests Zilaal to let him know before arriving in Malé, supposedly from Kaafu atoll island of Maafushi, where the country’s main prison is located.

“Please call me once you get on the launch to come to Malé, do not see this as a bribe, no no, this is just about our friendship,” the man tells Zilaal.

The head of MCS is then heard saying that “the deed is done,” to which the second man thanked Zilaal for having “done the impossible.”

Hassan Ali, spokesman for MCS said he was unable to comment on the matter.

“It is very difficult for me to comment on this matter, perhaps you should ask the DCP [deputy Commissioner of Prisons],” he said, adding that “although Zilaal works in MCS we believe it is a private matter.”

Zilaal was unreachable by phone.

Raajje TV said it was unable to determine the exact time and date of the phone call, but reported that it was from some time ago, before Zilaal was appointed to the post of deputy Commissioner of Prisons.

Zilaal’s reference in the audio to Dhevana Furusathu Program – a rehabilitation program for convicted criminals introduced during former president Mohamed Nasheed’s tenure, puts the estimated date of the conversation before February 2012.