Gasim and PA conspired to send two DRP MPs abroad, alleges MP Ali Azim

Ali Azim, Mid-Henveiru MP for the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), has alleged that business tycoon and Maamigili MP Gasim Ibrahim along with DRP’s coalition partner People’s Alliance (PA) conspired to send two DRP MPs abroad ahead of today’s vote on ministerial appointees.

Azim told newspaper Haveeru that the two additional votes would have sufficed to reject Home Minister Hassan Afeef and Transport Minister Adhil Saleem.

The two MPs in question are Ilham Ahmed of the DRP’s Gayoom faction and Velidhoo MP Ali Mohamed.

Azim claimed that DRP’s efforts to bring back the two MPs in time for the vote were unsuccessful.

“Ilham is definitely a member of Zaeem [Maumoon’s] faction,” he said. “It is regrettable that Ilham was not present for a vote on a person that has directly targeted the Zaeem on many occasions. We hope the Zaeem will condemn this.”

In 2009, Home Minister Hassan Afeef, former parliamentary group leader of the now-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party, was found guilty of defaming the former President by claiming that Gayoom had embezzled US$80 million from tsunami relief aid.

PA Deputy Leader Ahmed Nazim denied the DRP’s accusations, claiming that it was DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali that sent away the Velidhoo MP as agreed upon in an alleged secret meeting with President Mohamed Nasheed over the weekend.

DRP Deputy Leader Ilham meanwhile explained that he was in Sri Lanka accompanying his seriously ill six-year old who remains in critical condition at the ICU, adding that he was counselled by former President Gayoom as well as Gasim Ibahim to remain with his family.