Less than one percent of cases investigated for graft were sent for prosecution in 2017, figures from the Anti-Corruption Commission show.
The watchdog concluded that 1,326 cases either did not involve corruption, or that it was not going to probe them further because there was nothing suspicious, or that there was no corruption but that it would give recommendations to the institutions involved.
It sent 12 cases to the Prosecutor General’s office during the course of the year although the ACC has not provided figures for February, March or June. It rejected 86 cases last year although figures for May, June and August are not provided.
Some of the cases investigated date back years, including one from 2011.
“We forward to PG only cases that we can regard as corruption under the Anti-Corruption Act and articles in chapters 510 and 310 of the penal code which also falls under our mandate,” ACC information officer Hassan Manik told the Maldives Independent.
There was no corruption in the granting of 50 Hajj places to the first lady’s charitable foundation, it ruled.
The Sadaqat Foundation – which is run by First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim – faced multiple corruption allegations in 2016, including the allocation of 50 pilgrimage spots from the Islamic Ministry.
The ACC, which concluded its investigation in November, said Islamic Ministry guidelines allowed the awarding of Hajj quotas to volunteer organisations and so there was no corruption.
In 2016, 63 out of 400 quotas reserved by the Islamic Ministry were given to volunteer organisations, it said. The Saudi government issued a total of 2,000 Hajj quotas that year.
Online news site VFP reported that the Sadaqat Foundation also received a Hajj allocation last year.
Last month Transparency International said the Maldives had made little to no progress in its efforts to combat corruption, falling 17 positions in country rankings.
In its 2017 Corruption Perception Index the Maldives had a score of 33 and a ranking of 112 out of 180, the same as Niger, Bolivia and El Salvador. In 2016 the Maldives’ score was 36 and its position was 95.
The CPI scores and ranks countries by their perceived level of public sector corruption using a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
In October Transparency Maldives (TM) said only one corruption-related case reached conviction between 2010 and 2014, despite 175 cases being submitted for prosecution by the ACC.
At the time the NGO said the low conviction rate resulted from a lack of coordination between the ACC and the Prosecutor General’s office.