The High Court on Monday overturned the Criminal Court decision to reject the bribery case against Minister Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof and ordered to resume the trial at Criminal Court.
The Criminal Court initially rejected the case, stating that the case cannot be considered n a civil standard, as the evidence submitted by the state is not sufficient enough to prove Mahloof as guilty. Though the transaction of USD 33,000 can be proven through financial records, there is no concrete evidence to prove the money Mahloof received was a bribe to vote in favor of the SEZ bill and the Court does not consider witness testimonies including the key witness former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb as sufficient evidence.
However, Prosecutor General’s Office appealed the Criminal Court decision at the High Court with a majority of three judges deciding in favour of the prosecution.
Mahloof was accused with bribery for collecting USD 33,000 in return for voting for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) bill in 2014 when he was acting as a legislator.
According to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Mahloof returned to the Maldives from Malaysia on August 27, 2014, to vote for the SEZ bill submitted by the Yameen administration. Furthermore, Mahloof was discovered to have collected USD 33,000 from the SOF company.