New policies to recover president’s political trip expenses

The Auditor General has begun to establish policies ensuring that expenses for both campaign and unofficial trips made by the president are repaid to the state.

Auditor General Ibrahim Niyaz said that in developed countries, criteria are established to distinguish the president’s official and unofficial visits.

“We have experienced it before, and are experiencing it now as well, that State funds are used for the wife and children to accompany the President when he travels abroad. As a rule, unless it’s a state visit, it would not be acceptable that State funds are used even for the wife. So it’s important that these policies are established in detail, which is why we are doing this,” he told Sun Online.

He stated that studies are currently being carried out by taking similar policies in countries like the USA as examples. After the study has been concluded, it can be decided as to why a trip is categorised as a political trip.

“For example, we see multiple visits being made to the atolls as we approach local elections. Promises are made during these trips. That shows that they are campaign trips. We will establish policies on how to act under those circumstances,” he said.

According to the Auditor General, the policies will be sent to parliament and the president’s office, both of whom will be recommended to execute them.

“These policies will not obstruct the President’s trips. He will be able to travel with full security and such. The purpose of these policies is that the political trip expenses are recovered,” he said.

Niyaz said that Ministers should also pay for their campaign trips.