The Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has forwarded charges against former Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr. Ahmed Ziyad Bagir over alleged corruption involving an agreement signed with SJ Construction to develop Zikra Mosque during the former administration, to the Criminal Court.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) On September 17, sought criminal charges against the former minister from the PGO after concluding investigations into the graft claims.
PGO revealed that Bagir, native to Eydhafushi island of Baa atoll had signed an agreement with SJ Construction to develop a 10-story tower where Zikra Mosque is located, against the initially submitted proposal. This incurred losses to the state, after MVR 30 million was paid as equity to the construction group, in turn granting them undue benefits under Bagir’s misuse of official authority.
Bagir is charged with misuse of official authority under Section 513 (b) of the Penal Code which highlights that “a person commits the offence uses or influences official authority in his capacity as a public official, for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or for another person to which he is not entitled.”
Graded as a Class 4 felony, the offense carries a minimum sentence of a year, seven months and six days behind bars.
PGO also raised charges against Mohamedi Aabaadh Ibrahim Abdulla Saeed, also for misusing official authority as former head of the ministry’s Endorsement Section to grant undue benefits to the construction group. He is accused of forming a technical report on the initial proposal, claiming that the company was the best contractor for the project, even though the proposal lacked the required information.
In addition to the charges pressed on two individuals, the PGO has also sought from the ACC to request a thorough criminal investigation into the W&A Overseas PTE and some of its senior officials who were involved in stages of the agreement between the ministry and SJ Construction, at the Maldives Police Service (MPS).
PGO has also recommended ACC to request an investigation over the contractor receiving information that was not provided by the ministry, this was noticed through case documents.
The 10-story development of Zikra Mosque was handed over during the administration of now incarcerated former president Abdulla Yameen, during July 2018 and the project was worth MVR 130 million.
MVR 30 million was paid as equity to SJ Construction by the previous government.
Bagir was appointed Islamic Minister during now incarcerated former president Abdulla Yameen’s regime in 2015 following the resignation of his predecessor Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed.