MIFCO denies reducing staff allowances, ACC investigates fraudulent US$1 million transaction

The chairman of Maldives Industrial Fisheries Corporation (MIFCO) has denied rumours the company is to reduce staff allowances, while the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has launched an investigation after US$1 million receivable to MIFCO was transferred to an incorrect bank account.

Speaking to Haveeru, MIFCO board Chairman Hassan Rasheed said the recent merging of the two state-owned fisheries companies with MIFCO had brought the need to “synchronise” the allowances as the employees were being paid differently at the two companies.

Kooddoo Fisheries and Felivaru Fisheries were brought under the management of MIFCO in September this year after having been separated into independent entities during former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration.

“The staff allowances were not the same in the three companies,” said Rasheed. “While attendance allowance is provided not for staff in one company, the other provides attendance allowance, thus bringing about the need to synchronise the allowances.”

Meanwhile, the ACC and the Maldives Police Service have launched an investigation into a missing US$1 million after a company from Thailand transferred the money into an account that did not belong to MIFCO.

ACC president Hassan Luthfee told Minivan News that the commission initiated the investigation last week. Local media reported that the commission had started the investigation after rumours began circulating in the press and social media.

Speaking about the transaction, MIFCO CEO Adhlee Ismail alleged the Thai company was tricked into sending the sum to the wrong account after a group of people impersonating MIFCO contacted them via email.

“What really happened was, the buyer sent the money to a wrong account after a group of hackers impersonated MIFCO by creating an email with an extra letter to the MIFCO email. The buyer did not do the necessary background checks before transferring the money,” local media reported Adhlee as saying.

Adhlee denied MIFCO staff involvement in the fraudulent transaction while alleging that the emails were sent to Thailand from Nigeria.

According to Raajje.mv, MIFCO submitted the case to Maldives Police Service on Thursday and the company has since received US$600,000 of the missing money.

Related to this story

Kooddoo, Felivaru merged with MIFCO

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Maldivian jailed in Thailand for 14 months

A 44-year-old Maldivian man has been sentenced to 14 months in jail in Thailand for using counterfeit US dollars and overstaying his visa.

Nahula Ali, executive coordinator at the Foreign Ministry, told local media that the Maldivian citizen was indicted in June and had confessed to the crime.

Local media has identified the man as Abdulla Saeed from Raa Atoll Ungoofaru.

The Foreign Ministry has reportedly communicated the news to the man’s family and local authorities.


Yameen receives credentials of Thai and South Korean ambassadors

President Yameen has today received the credentials of both the Thai and South Korean ambassadors.

New Thai Ambassador ‎H.E. Nopporn Adchariyavanich discussed the furtherance of fisheries, agriculture, and trade ties between the two nations.

During his meeting with President Yameen, new South Korean Ambassador H. ‎E. Chang Won-sam was told of the importance of South Korean investment in the Maldives.

The South Korean ambassador discussed enhancing, tourism, trade, and training ties with the Maldives, sending the good wishes of President Park Geun-hye.


Maldivian reported missing in Malaysia crossed the Thai border

A Maldivian student reported missing in Malaysia has crossed the Thai border, the Maldivian High Commission in Malaysia has said.

Hamdhan Mohamed, 28, checked in at a Malaysian Airlines counter at KL Sentral train station on June 12. He was on standby for a flight that night.

Maldivian Ambassador in Malaysia Mohamed Fayaz told news agency Haveeru that Malaysian immigration records show Hamdhan crossed the Bukit Kayu Hitham border into Thailand at 6:30am on Friday (June 13).

Hamdhan is also reported to have crossed the border in 2013.

“We heard [from the family] that they could not reach Hamdhan after his check in at KL Sentral 7:30pm on Thursday June 12,” Fayaz said.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues Thailand travel warning to Maldivians

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has alerted Maldivian citizens of the potential risks of travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest.

A statement released by the Ministry yesterday (May 24) explains that Maldivians should take extra care due to the Royal Thai army seizing power on May 22.

“The situation may evolve quite rapidly”, the statement warned. “Maldivian citizens are cautioned to avoid protest sites, demonstrations, and large gatherings.  Foreigners who join the anti-government protests face risk of deportation.”

“Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media reports. You should allow extra time when travelling throughout the city or to/from airports.  Consider using public transportation.”

The statement goes on to advise all Maldivians travelling to Thailand to take all necessary precautions for personal safety, and purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance.

In addition, the Ministry asks Maldivians who are in need of consular assistance while in Bangkok to contact the consulate-general of the Maldives or the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On May 20, the Royal Thai Army imposed martial law in Thailand, giving the military expanded authority to take action it deems necessary to enforce law and order.

Furthermore, the army have announced an overnight curfew during 10pm – 5am local time.


Thailand’s Princess Sirindhorn visits the Maldives

Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn arrived for an official visit to the Maldives today (August 22), reported local media.

The princess is scheduled to visit the National Museum during her trip. Today she met with President Mohamed Waheed and First Lady Ilham Hussain as well as other cabinet members, said the President’s Office.

Sirindhorn will remain in the Maldives until Friday (August 23).


Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visits the Maldives

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has visited the Maldives in the first such visit by a Thai leader since the establishment of diplomatic relations 34 years ago.

Following a meeting on Friday, President of the Maldives Dr Mohamed Waheed announced the two countries had signed seven agreements, mostly relating to trade and economic cooperation.

“Thailand is one of the largest trading partners of the Maldives. Nearly 30 percent of our exports go to Thailand. And we would like to increase that number significantly in the coming years,” said Dr Waheed.

Shinawatra noted that trade between Thailand and the Maldives was worth US$100 million, and expressed an interest in this doubling by 2018.

Dr Waheed expressed interest in a visa waiver, and said he welcomed further Thai investment in the Maldives, including the tourism sector.

“We also discussed the need for expanding investment in other sectors, such as food processing, infrastructure development, construction, and health care,” Waheed said.

“I was pleased to see the agreement signed between the ADK Hospital and the Thonburi Hospital. I would like to encourage more Maldivian companies to enter into similar understanding with foreign partners that would allow sharing of experience and expertise,” he added.

“The Thai Exim-Bank was the major investor in the Hulhumale’ development project. The Bank’s role in the project would come to an end next year. We welcome Thai Exim-Bank’s investment in other large-scale infrastructure projects,” Dr Waheed added.

Thailand’s Minister of Defence, Air Chief Marshal Sukampol Suwannathat, meanwhile visited the Maldives National Defence Force’s hospital, and its training centre on the island of Girifushi.


Thai trade delegation to visit Maldives

Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be part of an official delegation set to visit both Sri Lanka and the Maldives over the next three days to discuss boosting trade relations, according to media reports.

During the trip, which begins tomorrow (May 31) and will end Sunday (June 2), the Thai delegation will look to double trade and investment with the Maldives and Sri Lanka over the next five years, the state-run National News Bureau of Thailand (NNBT) has said.

Whilst in the Maldives, Thailand’s Commerce Ministry is expected to sign agreements to strengthen trade and economic cooperation with the country, while also looking at potential collaborations in areas such as tourism, education and healthcare.

NNBT quoted Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom as saying that the Maldives was presently Thailand’s 104th largest partner in terms of trade, with existing agreements worth an estimated 40.33 million Baht (MVR 20.5 million) to the country.


Thailand donates US$10,000 for cyclone recovery

The government of Thailand has donated US$10,000 to the Maldives to assist recovery from severe flooding caused by the cyclone ‘Nilam’ that hit South Asia in late October.

The US$10,000 cheque was handed over at a ceremony on Thursday (December 20) at the Maldives High Commission in Sri Lanka, according to the Foreign Ministry.