Tuesday 24th May 2022
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corruption

No corruption, says ACC on Amal Clooney hire

Maldives' corruption watchdog Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has decreed that there was no corruption in hiring famed human right's lawyer Mrs. Amal Clooney to represent Maldives in International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Court is currently reviewing the case filed by Gambia against Myamar, with Maldives joining the case as an intervenor.
A private individual had filed the case in ACC citing that in hiring Mrs. Clooney, the state had bypassed the fiscal responsibility and would cause irrevocable fiscal loss.
As per the agreement, Mrs. Clooney was to be paid US$ 1,941.75 per hour (MVR 30,000). The individual had filed the case back in February 2020, citing that this fee and hiring, had gone against clause 8 (l) of the Public Finance Regulation. The clause states that if the state agency cannot provide a service and has to rely on a contractor, then the contractor must be chose from a pool of interested parties and that the contractor must be chosen with the State's best interest at mind.
The case alleges that no other parties were sought out for price quotations and that the State had only liaised with Mrs. Clooney. It also states that there were other international lawyers who were more than capable of handling a case of that magnitude, and therefore, there was room to believe that this case was handed over to Mrs. Clooney, with her financial interest in mind. Mrs. Clooney is closely linked to senior officials of this administration.
The applicant had requested ACC to use their discretionary powers to halt the transfer of the fees to Mrs. Clooney, citing that if the transfer had taken place then the State would face irreversible losses.
ACC's verdict, coming two years after the case was filed, cited that the decision to hire Mrs. Clooney was taken after discussions with the President's Office, Parliament, and the Attorney General's Office. Additionally, it stated that Mrs. Clooney and her co-counsel Professor Phillip, would take only the maximum amount of GBP 47,250.00 (MVR 1.2 million) for 180 hours. Therefore, ACC had decreed that there was no corruption in this agreement based on the case history. The Commission also ruled that no investigation would be carried out on the case, adding that the Commission believed that there was no case to be forwarded to litigation.