Only two MMC members returned illegal allowances, after ACC investigation

The Maldives Media Council’s (MCC) annual audit report has revealed that only two of its members, Ahmed Abdulla and Ahmed Fazeel, have returned the MVR7,500 (US$478) living allowance adjudged to have been given illegally, reports local media.

The council’s other 13 member, despite being asked to do so, had not returned the allowance the report is said to have detailed.

In April 2011, council members decided not to receive the allowance any longer, after they were asked by Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to discontinue a second time.

The MMC then sent letters to council members asking them to return the amounts they had received as living allowances – by now a total of almost a million rufiya, in addition to their salaries.

Following the ACC’s decision to sue the MCC over these allowance, the Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) urged the council’s members to resign.

“This raise questions about the integrity of MMC which was established by the Parliament to regulate media,” read an MJA statement at the time.

“The MMC Act which was passed by the parliament clearly stipulates that no additional money other than wages shall be given to the council members for their work, unless it is approved by the Parliament,” it continued.