The Auditor General’s office has sent a list of current and former government ministers to the Prosecutor General, requesting they be prosecuted for failure to declare their assets.
Article 138 of the Constitution requires every member of the Cabinet to “annually submit to the Auditor General a statement of all property and monies owned by him, business interests and all assets and liabilities.”
A letter to the Prosecutor General’s office, signed by Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem, claimed that former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and many of his ministers, as well as several members of the current government, had refused to declare their assets despite being requested by his office to do so.
The Attorney General’s office advised the Auditor General that those concerned had indeed committed an offence under section 20 of the Audit laws, and were thus subject to state prosecution.
“Therefore, as advised by the Attorney General’s office, we request that you prosecute Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, of Ma. Kibigasdhosuge, as he has committed an offence under section 20 of the audit law and violated the constitution,” the Auditor General wrote.
Along with Gayoom, the list includes many Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and People’s Alliance (PA) MPs, and several members of the current government including Tourism Minister Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad, and Economic Development Minister Mohamed Rasheed.
“I submitted [the asset statement] today,” Sawad told Minivan News. “I’ve got nothing to hide.”
The deadline set by the Auditor General was Thursday, Sawad noted. Gayoom’s submission, he suggested, “would be interesting.”
Others on the list include PA president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, DRP leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, Independent MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, and former Anti-Corruption Commission member Ali Rasheed.
The ACC recently forwarded corruption allegations against Naeem to the Prosecutor General’s office. A motion in parliament for the Auditor General’s dismissal, based on the case yet to be heard by the court, has also stalled the Majlis twice and caused an all-out brawl between the major parties yesterday.
Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said the ACC had delivered a large box file of documents regarding the Auditor General’s case “which we’re going through now”. The PG had yet to decide whether to prosecute, he said.
Regarding the Auditor General’s list, Shameem noted that “according to audit law, any person who obstructed the law as vested in the Auditor General is guilty of a crime, and I believe that is what he may be invoking.”
The PG’s office was “treating it as a normal case” he said, and had “technical issues” to consider before deciding whether to proceed with prosecution.
“We understand we’re in the limelight right now,” Shameem acknowledged. “We’re trying to keep a low profile.”
Spokesperson for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair suggested that “the number of DRP and PA MPs on the Auditor General’s list I believe gives insight into the troubles he is currently having in parliament.”
The Auditor General, he noted, “was actually appointed by Gayoom and a DRP-majority Majlis.”
“He’s a top-class accountant. I think that they believed he would foot their line, and did not expect that after he was appointed he would revert to type.”
No MDP member in senior government, Zuhair noted, had failed to declare their assets.
He called on the parliament to suspend the contentious debate over the fate of the Auditor General “until the court has ruled one way or another, otherwise they will be prejudicing the case.”
List of senior officials, past and current, yet to declare personal assets to the Auditor General as required by the Constitution:
Ali Rasheed – Former ACC member
Mohamed Ibrahim -Former EC member
Mujthaz Fahmy – JSC member
Abdul Gany Mohamed – JSC member
Ahmed Zahir -former JSC members
Abbas Shareef – former JSC member
Aishah Bisham – former JSC members
Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim – former JSC member
Ahmed Rasheed – Minister of Economic Development
Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad – Minister of Tourism
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – Former President
Mohamed Mauroof Jameel – Former Minister of Construction and Public Infrastructure
Ilyas Ibrahim – Former Minister of Health
Abdulla Shahid – Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mohamed Nasheed – Former Minister of Legal Reform, Information and Arts
Dr Ali Haidar – Former Minister of Housing and Urban Development
Abdulla Kamaludeen – Former Minister of Home Affairs
Zahiya Zareer – Former Minister of Education
Ismail Shafyu – Former Minister of Defense and National Security
Mohamed Saeed – Former Minister of Transport and Communication
Ahmed Thasmeen Ali – Former Minister of Atolls development
Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom – Former Minister of tourism and civil aviation
Hamdhoon Hameed – Former Minister of planning and national development
Aishath Mohamed Didi – Former Minister of Gender and Family
Dr Aishath Shiham – Former Minister of Youth and aports
Aishath Azima Shukoor – Former Attorney General
Dr Abdulla Mausoom – Former Minister of Environment Energy and water
Gasim Ibrahim – Former Home Minister