Minister of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof has stated that he has always been the “scapegoat” in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) embezzlement case, implying a bigger political conspiracy against him.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had forwarded Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof’s case in connection with the MMPRC corruption to the Prosecutor General’s Office on Wednesday
The ACC stated that the investigation revealed that Minister Mahloof, who was then acting as a legislator, received USD 33,000 in exchange for voting for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) bill.
The spokesperson for the President’s Office Mabrook Azeez stated immediately after the ACC statement that Minister Mahloof had been told to step aside from his duties.
On Thursday, Mahloof issued a statement on Twitter, claiming that he was being treated unfairly and that the case against him was contrived by politicians.
Mahloof went on to allege that the prosecution against him was motivated by a political rivalry, with the primary goal of deposing him. He claimed that, even though he was being treated in this manner, “they” were oblivious that he had no intention of clinging to his position.
Minister Mahloof, a member of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) at the time, denied the allegations, claiming that they were based on his vote for the SEZ bill, which he did in accordance with the PPM’s three-line whip.
Sharing a screenshot of a news report that defines the Asset Recovery Commission’s mandate, Mahloof stated that the ACC does not have the legal jurisdiction to submit charges and that the cases against everyone accused prior to this were sent by the Asset Recovery Commission. He also claimed that the ACC’s witness statements and other evidence were obtained illegally and would not be admissible in court.
He stated that he would resign provided the commission, police, PG, and ACC treated his case in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, as well as their own policies, and without bias.
Mahloof said using him as a “scapegoat” will not convince the public to believe the MMPRC probe is over. He also stated that he was “tired” and that he would not remain “quiet forever.”