ACC: Maldives does not have system in place for asset recovery

Members of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) hold a press conference on April 5, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hussain)

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) states the Maldives does not have a system in place to facilitate the recovery of state assets lost to corruption.

The five newly-appointed members of the ACC hosted their first press conference on Tuesday morning.

Speaking at the press conference, commissioner Shiyama Mohamed said the recovery of state assets, while it would be one of the ACC’s top priorities, was also a task riddled with huge challenges.

Shiyama said that before opening each investigation, will conduct an assessment to see whether asset recovery was possible.

“If we can’t look at it from a criminal angle, we will look at it from a civil angle, and we will look to see whether it’s a case where asset recovery is possible, and conduct the investigation based on that angle,” she said.

Shiyama said that the state was owed a lot of money from different parties, and that it was an issue of deep concern to the state, as well as members of the public.

Shiyama Mohamed speaks during a press conference by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on April 5, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hussain)

“We are therefore conducting an asset recovery research on behalf of ACC. Through this research, we will be able to identify what can be done to recover assets and what must be done,” she said.

Shiyama said the ACC will enact new laws and rules and regulations if necessary.

“Because Maldives currently does not have a system in place for asset recovery. Therefore, we are first conducting research on what must be done to establish this system and get this done,” she said.

Shiyama said that both the ACC and the Auditor General’s Office has found numerous cases whether assets must be recovered, and that the state had not been able to recover the assets despite instructions.

She said that the state could not take any enforcement action to recover the assets.

“As such, we have engaged in numerous discussions and research in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Finance Ministry, the Auditor General’s Office, and the state’s internal audit committee and are engaged in all the work required to recover assets,” she said.

The current administration had established a Corruption and Asset Recovery Committee which was charged with investigating acts of corruption and misuse of public assets during the previous administration and recovering the assets. However, the commission was dissolved and the work of the commission transferred to the ACC back in March.