MDP members accuse ACC of ‘failure’, vote to conduct an audit

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)'s President Mariyam Shiuna (C) accompanies by other members of the commission during a meeting with the Parliament's Budget Committee. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee, on Monday, voted in favor of conducting an audit on Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), citing the need to determine the progress of the corruption watchdog’s investigations and clear the “confusion” surrounding its investigations.

The parliamentary committee convened for a meeting on Monday to discuss a letter submitted by MDP chairperson, West Henveyru MP Hassan Latheef regarding ACC’s investigations.

Hassan Latheef wrote in his letter that conducting investigations into corruption by the previous administration had been one of MDP’s chief pledges both during the 2018 presidential elections and the 2019 parliamentary elections.

He asked that the Parliament look into the progress of ACC’s investigations, and take action against the commission if necessary.

Discussing the letter, committee members said that ACC’s investigations have stalled, and expressed displeasure at the commission’s members.

Parliament's Independent Institutions Committee convenes for a meeting on July 6, 2020. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Biledhdhoo MP Ahmed Haleem (Dhonbileh), a MDP member, said that the new commissioners appointed by the current administration have failed in executing their duties. He said that the commissioners were more focused on investigating administrative matters and criminal matters.

“The commission closed 710 cases in 2019. In 707 of the cases , they found that there wasn’t any act of corruption, citing lack of evidence. Only three cases were forwarded to the PG [Prosecutor General] for charges. And following discussions with the PG on pressing charges in 2020, charges were filed in only one case,” said Haleem, alleging that the statistics alone supported the assertion that ACC had failed.

Haleem said that ACC has not disclosed details of its investigations when requested by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

“The commissioners appointed by our administration have all failed. When requested for a list of investigation by ACC including the MMPRC case [by the Prosecutor General’s Office], they responded it writing that they will not, that they refuse to,” he said.

Inguraidhoo MP Hassan Ahmed (Hassantey), another MDP member, expressed similar sentiments.

He said that the ACC, in refusing to honor the Prosecutor General’s Office, had violated the Constitution.

“ACC has violated the Constitution. They have failed to adhere to PG’s instructions. This is tantamount to Constitutional violation by ACC members,” he said.

Parliament's Independent Institutions Committee convenes for a meeting on July 6, 2020. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Gan MP Mohamed Wisam, also a MDP member, said that the progress of ACC’s investigations, even on cases of immense public interest, remained unclear. He said that determining the progress of the investigations was imperative.

He also expressed displeasure over the response of ACC’s President Mariyam Shiuna during a meeting with the committee, when she said that the commission does not determine its investigations based on whether the alleged act of corruption took place in the previous administration or the current one.

“I do not accept that anyone should or could be allowed to respond to us in that manner.  We are not talking about our personal interests here,” said Wisam.

Some suggested summoning ACC members to the committee for questioning, but others opinioned against summoning them at present.

The committee voted in favor of conducting an audit through the Auditor General’s Office as proposed by Hassan Latheef in his letter, and to make additional decisions once the audit is done.