Thursday 25th Jul 2024
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Anti Corruption Commission

ACC launches investigation on company affiliated with Minister Fayyaz

A company affiliated with Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail is under investigation by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The company, Business Image Group (BIG) is suspected of having taken MVR 30 million (US$1.9 million) via Public Service Media (PSM) to use for campaigning in the 2019 Parliament elections. Minister Fayyaz and his brother Hassan Ismail are affiliated with the company.
A private individual filed the case for investigation in ACC. In a letter sent to ACC President Adam Shamil, the individual cited that the state had awarded large sums to BIG as damages back in 2019. Even back then this was cited as a path towards corruption, the letter added.
In the recent debate for chairperson elections, Minister Fayyaz had said that the damages were used to fund campaigns for individual candidates.
The letter went on to add that therefore, there was room to believe that damages were awarded by the state for the benefit of a political party. It also noted that there was room to speculate that Minister Fayyaz and senior government officials had used their influence to settle the matter in their favor.
ACC had informed the individual the case was under investigation.
Mere days after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih assumed office, PSM had issued MVR 30 million to BIG. Civil Court had decreed that this was the payment of MVR 5 million and damages BIG had incurred as a result of the state not paying for services rendered when prior to PSM’s rebrand from Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC).
The case had languished in the court systems, with PSM filing the appeal in 2019. Appeal was filed after paying the MVR 30 million to BIG. High Court had kicked out the case, citing that the appeal was filed after the set date and that there was no valid reason to appeal.
Another appeal was filed in Supreme Court, with the Court ruling that High Court cannot reject the appeal. The apex court also said that Civil Court had not reviewed the case thoroughly and that PSM was not even summoned to Court on the matter. Therefore, Supreme Court had decreed that High Court had to review the case.
High Court is yet to hold any hearings on the matter.
Some have speculated that BIG is used by Minister Fayyaz to launder money. Previously, BIG had attempted to deposit large sums of cash into their accounts – this was halted by the bank and Central Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit had investigated the company as well.