14 January 2019

Transparency of Maldives called the disclosure made by the president and his cabinet’s personal finances to counter corruption as “incomplete”. Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Vice President Faisal Naseem, their Cabinet and political appointees made their income and assets public for the first time. The declaration is part of President Solih’s pledge to root out corruption and bring in an era of good governance. The declarations were published on the official website of the President’s Office of Maldives. The website also said that in the coming days, the President’s Office would continue to publish the financials statements of all senior political appointees at all ministries, state institutions, and state companies. These statements would be revised annually.

As this was the first time the asset disclosure was made there were some discrepancies in the declaration. Ibrahim Hood, the president’s spokesman, told Miharu that mistakes will be corrected, and the system will be improved over time. However deficient may this be, it is a good start as the public knows who owns what and will know when they suddenly get high value assets.

For instance, Infrastructure Minister Mohamed Aslam, who claimed not to own any assets, declared US$201,000 profit from his partnership business ventures, without declaring his business interests as assets.

Health Minister Abdulla Ameen declared a housing facility loan of $357,000 but did not declare ownership of the asset for which the loan was taken. Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail declared consultancy fees of $27,440 as income but without disclosing the source. He also declared shares or ownership of five companies and the ownership of a boat. He did not give any monetary valuation of these assets.

Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi also declared controlling shares in a company and four properties without any monetary valuations for the assets.

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid reported “business profits” of $155,000 without declaring ownership or partnership in any company. The former speaker of parliament also reported ownership of a property in Britain only naming it as “56 Park Road/Britain.”

Higher Education Minister Dr Ibrahim Hassan declared dividends from Dhiraagu, Bank of Maldives and State Trading Organisation but did not declare any shares as assets. Business Standard reported.