High Court accepts appeal of Mahloof’s bribery case

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

High Court has accepted the appeal of the bribery case against Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof, which was dismissed by the Criminal Court over lack of evidence.

Speaking to Sun, High Court’s Information Officer Ameen Faisal said that the appeal has been accepted and registered by the court today.

Mahloof 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 Adheeb to remain a member of the 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.

Mahloof had pled not guilty to the charges against him.

Criminal Court had dismissed that case citing that the prosecution had failed to submit substantial evidence to prove the charges. 

The Prosecution submitted names of seven people to give oral testimonies. They include Adheeb, in addition to Mohamed Allam Latheef and Ahmed Ishfah who are both implicated in the MMPRC graft scandal. Apart from this, it also includes the Sri Lankan national who had signed the ‘Payment Received’ slip produced by Mahloof as proof of a legitimate business transaction to procure US dollars and the analyst who did the mobile forensic examinations.

Whilst seven names have been submitted by the prosecution to give oral testimonies – 29 documents were submitted as documentary evidence.