Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chair Hassan Luthfy have dismissed claims by Attorney General Azima Shukoor last week that the government was awaiting completion of investigations by the independent institutions before making a decision on annulling the concession agreement with Indian infrastructure giant GMR, to develop and operate the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).
“I would like to point out that the Anti-Corruption Commission still hasn’t finished the complete investigation into the GMR matter. This also presents difficulties for us,” Azima said at a press conference last week.
“I have met with the heads of ACC and Auditor General two, three times. I can’t say anything about the investigations. But I haven’t heard back anything after I shared the information I had available with them.”
However, ACC Chair Hassan Luthfy told newspaper Haveeru yesterday that he did not believe that the government was awaiting the completion of the ACC investigation to take action.
Luthfy said that the government had failed to take action on corruption cases investigated by the ACC and forwarded for prosecution.
“Hence in reality this is blaming someone else while failing to undertake their own responsibilities. I do not think that a party [government] who cannot take action over our previous findings on inquiries can take action in this [GMR] case,” Luthfy was quoted as saying.
Luthfy told Minivan News in September that the investigation could “take some time.”
Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim meanwhile told state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM) yesterday that he “could not accept” the Attorney General’s claim.
“If the government believes the agreement should be annulled, the government has the discretion or powers to do so,” he said. “The work of the Auditor General’s Office is not part of the government’s decision-making process. If the government made decisions based on what the Auditor General’s Office says, that would compromise the independence of the Auditor General’s Office.”