ACC to sue Maldives Media Council over illegal ‘living allowance’

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has said that it has decided to sue the Maldives Media Council (MMC) after the Auditor General’s report revealed that members took almost Rf 900,000 in additional allowances.

President of the ACC Hassan Luthfy confirmed to local media that suits will be filed against the MMC, one in the Civil Court and one in the Criminal Court for corruption.

Meanwhile, the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) has called on the members to resign following the publication of the audit report.

In a statement, the MJA said that “this raise questions about the integrity of MMC which was established by the Parliament to regulate media. 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.”

The MJA said the MMC Act required the council to comprise of eight members from the media and seven members from the public, but questioned the legitimacy of the council after noting that member from the public had been employed by the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) after he was appointed as a member.

“This has dropped the number of members representing public to six, and increased the number of members representing the media to nine,” the MJA said, asking parliament to probe the issue.

The MJA said it was unacceptable for the NGO to see an institution assigned to regulate the media breaching the laws and democratic principles.

“This primitive action by the MMC has tarnished the trust and dignity of the local media in front of the citizens,” the MJA said. “We are very concerned, as this may also damage the reputation of the Maldives media in front of international organisations, and may raise questions about the integrity of the sole media regulatory body in the country.”

The opposition joint parliamentary group has meanwhile told the media that next week they will submit a bill to parliament to dissolve the council and transfer its mandate to parliament’s Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

Spokesperson for the opposition parliamentary group, MP Ahmed Nazim, told newspaper Haveeru that the council had not been fulfilling its responsibility and noted that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has accused the council of corruption.

He said that the MMC’s initial refusal to obey the direction of the ACC and repay the money was also an issue.

President of the Maldives Media Council (MMC) Mohamed Nazeef did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


2 thoughts on “ACC to sue Maldives Media Council over illegal ‘living allowance’”

  1. Taking an allowance that was not their due was wrong of MMC.

    Why not give the money back, settle out of court, and avoid being put in the pouches of those kangaroos in our courts?

    MJA's reaction is a demonstration of what Freedom House referred to when they implied it is too politicised an organisation to be an honest broker on behalf of the Maldivian media.

    Where was the MJA when the courts decided to close its doors to journalists wanting to cover the hearings of MP Nazim? Why is it not in arms over this blatant suppression of media freedom??

    What Hiriga, MP Yameen's Media Boy, seeks to do is discredit the government as much as he can while trying to appear to the international media associations like the IFJ that he knows what he's talking about.

    The IFJ should ask Hiriga to write an essay on 'What is investigative journalism?' before agreeing to continue endorsing the MJA.

    His answer: 'finding out the quality of hand jobs by prostitutes' might not be what the IFJ expects from the person who seeks to represent the Maldivian media.

  2. People talk of the civil service and how much it cost to pay the salaries. But no one probes on the expenditure of other commissions. The Audit office at the moment is busy traveling to foreign missions to audit . This is a huge cost that can be avoided. They cud get the details down to Male’ and Audit . What about Ministry’s limiting traveling cost by having common dates for travel to atolls for routine work. At the moment without the approval of finance ministry not even a pencil can be purchased. Can a government be run like this?


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