Mahloof: Will willingly go to jail if convicted in MMPRC case

Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof has stated that he would willingly go to jail if convicted in connection to the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) embezzlement case.

About a month ago, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had stated that their investigation revealed that USD 33,000 in funds stolen from MMPRC was sent to then-parliamentarian Mahloof back in 2014, as a bribe from then-Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor to remain as a member of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and vote for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill.

ACC requested the Prosecutor General’s Office to charge Mahloof in relation to the case on June 9. Mahloof has been placed under suspension pending the decision of the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding pressing charges – however, he continues to maintain his innocence.

Speaking at a session that took place at Clubhouse last night, Mahloof stated that he would willingly go to jail if convicted on the case.

“I will, In Sha Allah, go to jail if convicted. I will certainly not flee,” he said.

When he was questioned as to why he still has not resigned from his position as a Minister, Mahloof noted that he has not been charged yet – whereas he would resign the moment charged are pressed against him.

“I have said this before as well regarding my resignation. I have not been charged on the case as of yet. I will only be formally charged when PG sends the case to the Court. If this is done so in line with the correct procedure, I would not remain in my position for even an additional day – or even a minute,” he said.

While Mahloof’s case has been submitted to the PG, they have yet to decide whether to charge him or not.

ACC has stated that their investigation showed that Mahloof traveled to the Maldives from Malaysia on August 24, 2014, to vote specifically for the economic zone bill and that his vote was for the government-backed bill. They also stated that their investigation showed that Mahloof had received USD 33,000 through a SOF Pvt Ltd cheque.

The ACC statement also read that Mahloof had presented a slip under the name of the SOF company stating "Payment Received" to the investigation, to show that the USD 33,000 cheque was for foreign currency exchange purposes. However, the ACC investigation did not find any evidence showing that the payment received was from foreign currency exchange transactions.

Mahloof had previously been suspended from his post over corruption allegations in 2019. However, the ACC had cleared Mahloof of the allegations back then.