Author: CorruptionDotNet

Maldives: DRP condemns NYT ‘looters’ article as “cheap propaganda gimmick”

Mohamed Nasheed and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom 14 June 2010.The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has issued a statement condemning an article published in the New York Times, in which journalist by Matthew Saltmarsh described former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as a “looter” and alleged he had misappropriated state funds. The article further claimed that the present government was working with the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), a joint initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations, to recover US$400 million allegedly stolen by the former administration. The DRP stated that the repeated accusations of embezzlement leveled at Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom “are the MDP government’s last ditch efforts to resuscitate its waning public support and confidence in the face of its failure to manage the Maldivian economy.” “The MDP government, in a year and a half of searching through its ‘presidential commission’, has failed to find anything that they can pin against President Gayoom to defame his character. The MDP government will continue to fail in their sinister plots,” the DRP statement read. Speaking to newspaper Haveeru, Gayoom dismissed claims in the audit report as “politically-motivated” and “lies from A to Z”, and vowed to “protect myself from defamation” by taking both Saltmarsh and Hashim to court. “He [the former Auditor General] issued the reports during the 2008 presidential election with certain political motives,” Gayoom told Haveeru. “The...

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Maldives: NYT report claims government and StAR seeking $400m in stolen assets

The New York Times 12 June 2010. A report in major US newspaper The New York Times has claimed that the Maldives government is seeking to seize US$400 million allegedly stolen by the former government, assisted in its recovery efforts by the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR). In the Maldives, a number of politically-connected figures, including former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had now become the targets of ”increasingly coordinated efforts to repatriate misappropriated funds,” the NYT report said. Representatives of the former government have steadfastly denied the existence of stolen funds. Gayoom’s assistant and former chief government spokesperson Mohamed Hussain Shareef (Mundhu) told Minivan News in December that  ”there is no evidence to link Gayoom to corruption”, and urged accusers “to show us the evidence.” Friday’s report in the NYT described the Auditor General’s report, published in 2009, as “a guidebook on self-enrichment.” “An estimated US$9.5 million was spent buying and delivering a luxury yacht from Germany for the president; $17 million was spent on renovations of the presidential palace and family houses. Mr Gayoom built a saltwater swimming pool, a badminton court and a gymnasium, and he bought 11 speed boats and at least 55 cars — including the country’s only Mercedes-Benz,” the NYT noted. The Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem was dismissed in late March by an opposition-controlled parliament (Majlis) following a no-confidence motion and allegations of corruption....

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Maldives: Transport ministry denies ACC findings over Dhoogas Guest House

Road 9 June 2010. The Transport Ministry has denied findings by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) that the Dhoogas Guest House in Addu Atoll was awarded to MVK for 50 years in violation of the government’s financial regulations and tourism laws. Moreover, as the contracts were awarded following transparent bidding processes, the tourism law did not preclude granting plots of land in return for providing ferry services. The ACC notes that five months elapsed after the signing of the contract with MVK before the President’s Office transferred the land to the Tourism Ministry. Manik said companies had the choice of either selecting the government’s standard bid document or providing an alternative bid proposal. MVK chose the latter, he explained, suggesting Dhoogas as part of their...

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Maldives: Tensions escalate between executive and judiciary

Supreme Court of Maldives 5 June 2010. The Judges Association of Maldives (JAM) has condemned President Mohamed Nasheed’s criticism of the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) decision on determining guidelines for the reappointment of sitting judges as “disrespectful towards the honour and dignity of judges” and indicative of the “negative view he holds of the judiciary”. Article 285(b) of the constitution stipulates that the JSC shall determine whether or not sitting judges possess the qualification of judges specified in article 149 before August 7 2010. The article states that judges must possess “educational qualifications, experience and recognised competence to discharge...

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Maldivs: JSC decision could “rob nation of an honest judiciary”, warns member

Supreme Court Justice Mujthaz Fahmy 10 May 2010. The Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) decision yesterday to reappoint all sitting judges unless they have been convicted of either a crime with a punishment prescribed in the Qur’an, criminal breach of trust or bribery was “nothing less than treason to rob the people of an honest judiciary”,  claims Aishath Velezinee, the president’s member on the commission. The decision was approved with five votes in favour, two against and one abstention. Writing in her personal blog, Velezinee warns that the new standard for judges’ conduct could give tenure to 19 judges with either prior convictions or allegations of gross misconduct. If the decision is validated, she writes, the country “stands to inherit” seven judges found guilty of criminal breach of trust by the relevant authorities but not convicted in court; five judges with allegations of criminal breach of trust; two judges who face prosecution for criminal breach of trust; one judge on trial for sexual misconduct; two judges found guilty of sexual misconduct but not tried at court; one judge guilty of a crime with a punishment prescribed in the Quran; and one judge guilty of sexual misconduct and accused of criminal breach of trust. While Velezinee said Mujthaz Fahmy was among the 19 judges with prior records, Suood accused Fahmy of holding up the promotion of rival judges for “personal reasons”....

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