President’s Office has reportedly asked Anti-Corruption Commission to axe the investigation into the donation of cutlery from the official residence of the President.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih reportedly had donated a fork, a knife, and a spoon to an individual in during an iftar held last month. The cutlery had the logo of Mulee’aage on it and is classified as an asset of the residence.
The case was submitted to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) by another private individual. TMJ had obtained the letter sent to the Commission.
The letter said that donation of an asset of the state to any party is classified as a crime under clause 14 (a) of the Prevention and Prohibition of Corruption Act. The clause noted that it is “an offence for anyone to use any government property in contravention of government regulations to get an income or for personal gain”.
“While cutlery is not of a high value, they are assets attached with the President’s official residence and bears the residence’s emblem. As such, the sentimental value, in the future, is quite high,” the letter said.
The letter went on to add that as the items bore the logo, it would not be the personal property of the occupant of the residence at any given time. Therefore, there was no way the President can donate the cutlery to any party.
Sources reported to TMJ that President’s Office had contacted ACC, requesting not to push ahead with the investigation.
It must be noted that PO does not have legal grounds to ask an independent investigative body to halt an investigation. However, ACC members are answerable to the Parliament and face dismissal and therefore, susceptible to influence from the Parliament. The majority of the Parliament is made of members from Maldivian Democratic Party and President Solih does have control of the majority of these MPs.