Hearing scheduled for today on Minister Mahloof’s bribery case cancelled

Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

The hearing scheduled for today in the case against Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof for accepting bribe – has been cancelled.

The first hearing of the case was scheduled for 11:00am this morning.

However, an official from Criminal Court confirmed to Sun that the hearing scheduled for today had been cancelled due to a clerical matter.

Sports Minister Mahloof was charged with taking bribe on November 24. However, the government has yet to take any action against him – therefore he continues to undertake his responsibilities as the Minister, even at present.

Mahloof was charged with accepting a bribe under Article 3 (b) of the Anti-Corruption Act, with reference to Article 3 (a). 

He was charged based on the findings of an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) into the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) graft scandal. 

ACC found that in 2014, then-parliamentarian Mahloof received USD 33,000 in funds stolen from MMPRC as a bribe from then-Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor to remain a member of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and vote for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill on August 27, 2014. 

ACC found that on September 1, 2014, a USD 33,000 cheque was deposited to Mahloof’s bank account by SOF Private Limited – the company accused of laundering the stolen funds. The corruption watchdog said that though Mahloof submitted a ‘Payment Received’ slip in the name of SOF as evidence it had been a legitimate business transaction to procure US dollars, the commission had witnesses and other evidence to prove otherwise.  

He expressed confidence he would win if the case when to court, and said the prosecutors would “only embarrass themselves.”  

Mahloof had been suspended back in 2019, when ACC’s report on the MMPRC scandal was first publicized. However, he was cleared two months later, following an investigation by the President’s Office. 

Mahloof was placed under suspension against in June this year, after the ACC requested corruption charges against him with the Prosecutor General’s Office.  However, the President's Office lifted the suspension in October.