ACC investigating business dealings of two cabinet ministers

The Chair of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Hassan Luthfy has confirmed that there is a case filed at the commission against Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed and Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad.

The case was filed after it came to light that a company named ‘ISI Investment Private Limited’ was registered in 2010 in the name of Sheikh Shaheem, Abdulla Jihad, and an Iraqi national named Ihusan S. El Sheikh.

Luthfy today told Minivan News that the commission had not yet looked into the case.

“So far we know that it was a company registered in 2010 before they were both appointed to the cabinet,’’ he said. “But what we have to find out is if the company had made any business transactions after they were appointed as cabinet ministers.’’

He said that this was a very common type of issue.

“We have come across this type of issue many times, like in the former government’s cabinet there were some ministers who had businesses registered under their names which was shared by foreign nationals, it becomes an issue if the company makes any business transaction after they were appointed to the cabinet,’’ he added.

The constitution’s article 136[a] states that “a member of the Cabinet shall not hold any other public office or office of profit, actively engage in a business, or in the practice of any profession, or any other income generating employment, be employed by any person, buy or lease any property belonging to the State, or have a financial interest in any transaction between the State and another party.’’

Sheikh Shaheem has told local media that the company was registered in 2010 and that no business transactions were made after he was appointed to the cabinet.

In March 2013, the ACC launched an investigation into an alleged business deal struck between Firoz Ghulam Khan – who promised to donate a sum of US$ 10,000 to the Zakat fund last year – and the wife of Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed, Fathimath Afiyaa.

According to local newspaper Haveeru, the business deal was struck on December 25, just three months after announcement of Zakat fund donation, and involved the formation of a company under the name ‘Pure Gold Jewelry Maldives Private Limited’, which intended to sell jewelry to resorts.

Citing a paper it claims to have received from the Ministry of Economic Development, Haveeru has reported that the company had 1500 shares in the name of Shaheem’s wife, while Firoz Ghulam Khan’s net share was 103,500. Kareem Firoz had shares totaling up to 45,000.

The ACC website had issued a statement confirming that the case of Shaheem’s wife had been sent to the Prosecutor General’s office to pursue charges against her for violating the Anti Corruption Act (Act number 2/2000 article 15(a)).