Author: CorruptionDotNet

Maldives: Finance ministry snubs parliamentary committee

28 December 2009. Finance Minister Ali Hashim failed to appear before parliament’s internal affairs committee today; after he was called to clarify the manner in which independent institutions in the Maldives are funded. Hashim was asked to appear after institutions including the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), the Election Commission (EC) and the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) complained to parliament that they lacked financial independence and must “beg” for funds from the Finance Ministry. “He left the country,” said independent MP Mohamed Nasheed, the committee’s chair. A question of independence “We don’t get any finance for our programs unless the Finance Ministry approves it. The finance minister had previously suggested a percentage of the institution’s budgets might be made available, “but that still doesn’t solve the issue,” Nasheed...

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Maldives: Embezzlement accusations resurface amid World Bank investigation

10 December 2009, Ibrahim Hussein Zaki, special envoy to the president, has renewed allegations that former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has US$80 million hidden in foreign bank accounts, including US$40 million in tsunami aid from the Emir of Qatar. The GPC’s leader, Michael Lord-Castle, told Minivan News during an interview in November 2006 “that we have been advised that between US$60-80 million has been transferred from Maldives’ governmental funds directly to various private bank accounts in favour of President Gayoom. “If [the accusation] proves true it will be fairly significant because first of all it was money from the National Treasury, secondly the money was for tsunami victims, and thirdly there would be reason to anticipate more [hidden money],” he said. World Bank enlisted Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed announced in September he was seeking the help of the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) to recover a suspected US$2 billion in embezzled funds, stating that the money was needed to plug a budget deficit of 34 per cent of GDP. Gayoom’s assistant and former chief government spokesperson Mohamed Hussain Shareef (Mundhu) responded to the allegations by demanding Zaki “show us the evidence. “There is no evidence to link Gayoom to corruption,” he insisted. Gayoom could obviously not just take off with donor or tsunami aid.” Mundhu expressed confidence that the World Bank’s investigation “would find nothing untoward. The...

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Maldives: Opposition MPs accuse govt of favouring MDP voters in budget

4 December 2009. Funds were disproportionately allocated for public sector investment programme (PSIP) in next year’s budget for constituencies represented by MPs of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party-People’s Alliance (DRP-PA), Mulaku MP Abdullah Yamin said at parliament yesterday. MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) defended the budget, arguing development projects would be undertaken under public-private partnerships (PPP)s. Presenting the budget last month, Finance Minister Ali Hashim said the budget had the confidence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Further, the budget for parliament was 16 per cent smaller than this year. Kendhoo MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali criticised the government for unilaterally reducing salaries for staff at independent institutions in next year’s budget. In the judiciary, the budget for the Supreme Court was lower by 33 per cent, the High Court by 42 per cent and island courts by 20 per...

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