The Prosecutor General's Office in the Maldives has withdrawn corruption charges against Youth and Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof, citing a lack of sufficient evidence. Mahloof had been charged with accepting $33,000 in bribes from former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb during a vote on the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) bill.
The decision to withdraw the charges comes after a controversial legal battle that has lasted several months. Mahloof was suspended from his post as Youth and Sports Minister after being sent to the Prosecutor General's Office to file a charge sheet against himself. He had previously stated that he would step down as minister if he was charged but later refused to do so.
There were rumors that the state was planning to drop the charges against Mahloof, although the Prosecutor General's Office had previously stated that no decision had been made to withdraw the charges, and the case was going on in court. The decision to withdraw the charges was made due to a lack of evidence that the money Mahloof received was a bribe.
The case against Mahloof had been dismissed by the criminal court earlier due to a lack of evidence, but the Prosecutor General's Office had challenged this decision, and the High Court had ruled that there was sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. However, all scheduled hearings in the criminal court were either postponed or cancelled at Mahloof's request or at the request of the state.
The decision to drop the charges against Mahloof has been controversial, and many have raised questions about the transparency and fairness of the legal system in the Maldives. It remains to be seen what impact this decision will have on Mahloof's political career and on the political landscape of the Maldives.