The Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem today responded to charges of corruption put against him by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), claiming the case was an attempt to discredit his office and prevent him from reclaiming the government’s money stored in overseas bank accounts.
The ACC has forwarded two cases concerning Naeem to the Prosecutor General’s Office, alleging that Naeem used an official credit card to purchase personal items and fund a private visit to the island of Thulhadhoo in Baa Atoll.
“A lot of the government’s money was taken through corrupt [means] and saved in the banks of England, Switzerland, Singapore and Malaysia,” Naeem claimed, during a terse press conference.
”There are houses and assets of the government saved in those countries,” he said, ”and there is the government’s money stored in personal accounts.”
The ACC’s cases against him were, he said, made by people “attempting to harm [my] office because we are trying to bring all this money back to the country.”
He pledged he would “bring all the money back within the year.”
Press Secretary for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair observed that Naeem was being accused of defrauding the government of a “comparably negligible amount of money compared to the millions he’s exposing. It’s not surprising he has powerful enemies.”
The first allegation of making personal purchases was a mix-up between a personal and a corporate credit card, Zuhair claimed. “He bought a tie and later paid when he realised his mistake.”
The second claim, that Naeem had used government money to chartered a boat to Baa Atoll for person reasons, was met with scorn by the Auditor General.
“It was not a personal trip. Neither the parliament nor the president can decide whether my visits are official or personal,” he said.
Zuhair said he expected the Prosecutor General would now send the case to court where the Auditor General would most likely absolve himself of the charges.
“The fact that parliament is already considering a no-confidence motion probably amounts to legal double-jeopardy,” Zuhair noted.