Evidence of fraud by Auditor General Maakun Ibrahim Naeem has been stolen from the offices of the Maldives Anti-Corruption Commission. A top official from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) told Haveeru Daily yesterday that the stolen documents included receipts of monies Auditor General Maakun Naeem had used illegally from the Audit Office. They also included receipts of monies by the Audit Office when Maakun Naeem had tried to cover up the whole issue by paying back the illegal money. The incriminating documents were in relation to a private trip that Maakun Naeem had taken to Baa Atoll.
Thieves broke into the offices of the Anti Corruption Commission on May 6th and ransacked the place, turning shelves, filing cabinets and desk drawers upside down. The ACC official told Haveeru that earlier that day ACC Chief Ali Rasheed had summoned Maakun Naeem in to question him about the illegal use of Audit Office funds. The questioning was carried out by the ACC Chief and two of his administrative assistants. No other ACC member was told of the investigation. According to the source, all the documentary proof was taken out of files by the ACC Chief and shown to the Auditor General Maakun Naeem. With the evidence in front of him, Maakun Naeem had given a statement that he was indeed culpable of the crime, and had requested the ACC Chief to overlook the crime since he had paid back the monies. The ACC Chief had reportedly agreed that since the Auditor general had paid back the monies he used illegally, the investigation could be shelved.
However, according to the informant, the two administrative personnel at the meeting had later met with ACC Chief and disagreed that Maakun Naeem’s crime could be shelved by the ACC according to law. They also reported the matter to other members of the Anti Corruption Commission. Subsequently, that very day, the full Anti Corruption Commission had met to deliberate on the clear evidence of fraud by Auditor General Maakun Naeem. After deliberating on the matter, the Commission had decided that the fraud case by Auditor General was too strong to be ignored, and that the matter should be pursued by ACC to its full legal conclusion. The break-in into the ACC Offices had occurred that very night. According to the ACC Official speaking to Haveeru, the only documents taken by the thieves were the documentary proof of Maakun Naeem’s case.
ACC Chief Ali Rasheed yesterday strongly denied these reports by his staff. He stated to media that no documents relating to any ongoing investigation had been stolen. Police also told media that the ACC had reported that no documents had been stolen in the robbery.
It is clear though that the ACC had an ongoing investigation into misuse of Audit Office funds by Auditor General Maakun Naeem. In addition to Maakun Naeem’s use of Audit Office funds to pay his bills for private trips, there also remains the case of Maakun Naeem using the Audit Office credit card for private expenses overseas. It is not known how far ACC has carried out this latter investigation.
Auditor General Maakun Naeem, President Nasheed’s crony and long term ally hails from the Maakun family of MDP activists. Street gangs run by Maakun Naeem’s cousin Falah are notorious for their attacks against dissenters to MDP. Maakun Naeem is also reported to have been involved in his cousin Maakun Sattar’s siphoning off of millions from the Fisheries project Implementation Department (STO) in the early 1990s. Maakun Naeem was one of the key administrative staff of the official commission investigating his cousin’s criminal activities and had access to all evidence of the crimes.
During the time of his nomination as Auditor general, there also surfaced reports of Maakun Naeem’s misuse of Maldives Monetary Authority funds for private trips overseas. Reportedly, the tactic employed by Maakun Naeem was to make first class bookings involving long routes and long transits for which the ticketing agency (Galaxy Enterprises) would be paid by the MMA. In addition Maakun Naeem took cash from MMA for expenses and allowances for the trip duration. He would then privately cancel the booking, personally take back the repayment in cash from Galaxy Enterprises, and then make economy class direct bookings to the destination in question. In this way, Maakun Naeem pocketed about US $ 4000 to US $ 5000 per MMA trip. Maakun Naeem was at the time working part time as a private consultant to Galaxy Enterprises.
Other reported cases of Maakun Naeem’s misuse of public funds and his powers include bribes taken when negotiating the Hulhumale’ reclamation loan. Maakun Naeem is also reputed to have taken bribes and favoured family and friends in giving housing loans when he was the Chairman of the Maldives Housing Finance Company. It would indeed be interesting to see an audit report of both MMA and the HFC.