ACC confirms GIP investigation; Transparency calls for inter-agency taskforce to tackle state resources misuse

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has confirmed it is investigating President Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihad Party (GIP) over allegations the party used state records to fill out membership forms in an effort to bulk up its numbers.

The party has denied the allegations, with Haveeru citing a GIP official as insisting: “we got members to sign for our party by taking to the streets of Male’ and visiting the islets. People are leveling various allegations because we managed to reach 10,000 members at the last minute.”

GIP spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

Party membership is not necessarily a reflection of voting support in the Maldives. However, with the introduction of the recent political parties bill, parties are required to have a minimum membership of 10,000 to be formally recognised by the Elections Commission (EC) and receive state funding.

The passage of the bill earlier this year – passed by a parliament largely controlled by the country’s three largest political parties – left small parties with little parliamentary representation such as GIP, the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Adhaalath Party (AP) and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) facing potential dissolution.

Of these parties, only the AP was able to obtain the required membership before the bill came into effect. The fate of the others was put on hold following a Supreme Court injunction, while they sought to reach the required membership.

The Elections Commission has meanwhile expressed concerns about fraudulent membership forms being submitted.

Use of state resources

Transparency Maldives has called for police, the EC, ACC and Prosecutor General’s Office to create an “interagency taskforce” to tackle election issues such as the misuse of state resources.

Senior Project Coordinator Azim Zahir said while a party such as GIP was in the spotlight due to their connection with the incumbent president, attention was also required at local council level.

“It’s not just trips made by a President [before an election]. During our pre-election assessment we met local councils who told us police transport was being used by candidates of certain political parties,” he noted, citing one example.

Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim told newspaper Haveeru last week that President Waheed’s visits to islands and pledging of infrastructure projects could be considered campaigning at the state’s expense.

As Niyaz believed public funds and resources should not be used for campaigning, the Auditor General’s Office was in the process of drafting campaign finance rules to distinguish official visits from campaign trips.

The recommendations would be based on the American model, he added, and shared with the President’s Office and parliamentary committees.

Under this model, the president would be advised to announce campaign trips in advance and reimburse the office for expenses incurred during unofficial trips.

A formula would be recommended to identify unofficial components of official trips, Niyaz explained.

“The main purpose of these rules is to recover the cost of unofficial trips. We are looking to make the rules public along with the President’s Office audit report,” he was was quoted as saying at the time.

The Elections Commission has meanwhile told local media that the commission was powerless to prevent political activities outside the official campaigning period of 120 days prior to the election.

“After the announcement of the presidential election, we will take all necessary action within the authority and powers of the commission. Compliance bureaus will be established and officials of the commission will be deployed to every island in which voting will take place. According to the law, political activities conducted before that cannot be stopped,” Vice President of the EC Ahmed Fayaz told Sun Online.

Transparency Maldives Project Coordinator Zahir stated however that major parties had already begun campaigning, and noted that the US model provided for an ‘informal’ campaigning period ahead of the official period.


6 thoughts on “ACC confirms GIP investigation; Transparency calls for inter-agency taskforce to tackle state resources misuse”

  1. ISSUE: Anticorruption Commission reveals an ongoing investigation into misuse of government information by the President for the benefit of his own party.

    Is this legal?
    Yes, the ACC is mandated to investigate any and all allegations of corruption against State officials.

    My opinion?
    Any reports of identity theft to bulk up political party numbers must be duly investigated. After all such things have happened in the past.

    After all, the ACC is required by law to investigate any and all allegations f corruption against state officials without much in the way of screening. Some have debated about the need for a screening process to eliminate the possibility of frivolous claims creating fodder for media headlines (not in any way suggesting that the above does or does not fall within that category).

    I believe however that a balance should be reached between the public interest in corruption within government as well as the reputation and dignity of individuals affected by the ACC going public with the parties in an ongoing investigation. It is up to the authorities to look for a solution that does not leave the ACC paralyzed and also does not victimize innocent people.

  2. *a mistake in my above comment. On a second look at the article I understand that the ACC is investigating the President's party and not the President. My observations on the matter are yet the same.

  3. Where was this transparency Maldives when Nasheed use state resources to campaign during 2009 parliament election and and then in 2010 council election.

    Niether anti corruption board or election or this Transparency Maldives had raised any concern during those days. I guess what ever Nasheed does , it becomes legal and when ever someone else does similar things it become illegal.

    The best part of Nasheed action is that he openly told the public that he will use state funds to carry out his campaign and no one can stop him doing that.

    Very well done I salute Transparency Maldives for acting like a MDP wing to bring our thier biased views and action.

  4. @ kuribee

    Did you forget to write in broken English, kuribee?

  5. @kuribee
    If you support Waheed, why don't you answer the accusation and support Waheed? Instead you start abusing Nasheed. This is a) An indication of how desperate you are b) An admission on your part that Waheed is guilty.

    Broken English can be fixed, it seems. But a deranged mind...?


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