World-renowned artists paid to perform in Maldives using money stolen from state, reveals report

  • Sean Paul, Akon and India’s popular band Sanam were paid using money stolen through the state-owned MMPRC

K. Male' | Aishath Shaany | 14-February-2019 | Thursday 17:40 | Shaaknee | Local | 954

(L to R) Sanam, Akon and Sean Paul -- Photo by: Archive

It has been revealed that Sean Paul, Akon and India’s popular band Sanam were paid using money stolen through the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

Akon and Sanam had performed in the archipelago nation in 2015; Akon gave a surprise new year performance while Sanam performed twice that year- in July and October.

According to a report publicized by the Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday, SOF had paid USD 80,488.30 to the organizers of the Akon show- Infinite Project Creation- while another USD 130,867.30 was deposited to an account belonging to a Chethika Karunaratne from the company.

It further notes that USD 50,380 was deposited to an Ahmed Ishfaah Ali from SOF on 5 October 2015, who is to have transferred USD 50,000 to an Indian company signed with Sanam- which the Commission investigation shows as a payment for Sanam’s Addu City performance.

While Sean Paul was initially announced to headline the 2015 new year show, he had to cancel following death threats by Islamist extremists.

However, the ACC reports notes that Tzell Travel Group was paid USD 130,064.79 on 9 December 2014, as travel expenses for the rapper, via an SOF account at Bank of Ceylon.

While a further USD 89,114.22 was deposited to Jamaica’s Headline Entertainment Limited on 22 December 2014, ACC says that this was also part of the payment for the cancelled Sean Paul show.

In addition, SOF had deposited USD 654,608 to an American marketing company named Empire Media Group on the 4th of January 2015. However, the report does not state on the purpose of the payment.



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