Comment: Thick as thieves

“Would a Rose by any other name still smell as sweet?” wrote Shakespeare. In the case of the Maldives People’s Majlis, call Rose what you like – she will still stink of corruption.

The ‘cash for votes’ scandal has gripped the nation ever since secret telephone recordings between opposition MPs were published on the Internet yesterday afternoon.

In one recording, the deputy speaker of the Majlis Ahmed Nazim discusses with Abdulla Yameen how Gasim Ibrahim took ‘Rose’ to Paradise Island Resort to finalise a Rf1 million deal.

“So Rose is joining Jumhooree [Gasim’s political party] now?” Yameen asks.

“No it’s not that….it is just for these matters,” assures Nazim, before explaining that ‘Maniku’ will complete the deal with Rose for a further Rf2 million. Nazim goes onto say that Gasim “has said everything will be OK… 100 percent and not to worry.”

In another recording, MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed says to Gasim, “I need some cash.”

“Yeah, OK,” replies Gasim before the two MPs discuss how the transaction will be completed.

In the third recording ‘Kutti’ Nasheed explains to Yameen and Nazim how he will “prevent the government from trying to do what it is doing” by moving motions of no-confidence against Finance minister Ali Hashim and Economic Affairs minister Maumood Razee. He reads out a plan to stop “all work on the tax bills submitted by the government to the Majlis.”

Rumours of corruption in the Majlis are nothing new, but never before have the sordid details of MP’s shenanigans been aired in such excruciating detail.

Last week, President Nasheed was being pilloried in sections of the media for being ‘dictatorial,’ following the arrest of Yameen and Gasim for alleged corruption and bribery. Now, significant sections of the community seem keen to lock them up and throw away the key.

“Petty, cheap, revolting, nauseating” – “Have nothing to say except that…I am ashamed. How cheap are our parlimentarians?” – “Thick as thieves. Guilty as sin. Let them hang from the nearest coconut tree!” – a few readers’ comments from Minivan News’ coverage of the scandal.

While many Majlis watchers will not be surprised to hear the tapes involving Yameen, Nazim and Gasim, many people have been shocked to hear that ‘Kutti’ Nasheed is also implicated.

Kutti likes to present himself as an independent MP par excellence, a symbol of integrity who rises above the grubby day-to-day deals of the Majlis. No longer. He has been treating Gasim as his personal ATM. In return, he appears to be chief architect of plans to subvert the government’s tax and privatization initiatives, measures that could damage Gasim’s and Yameen’s extensive business interests.

In his personal blog, Kutti says he simply borrows money from Gasim from time to time and it has no influence on his voting in parliament. Few, if anyone, will believe his excuse.

So far, the corruption allegations appear concentrated on Yameen’s Peoples’ Alliance party, Gasim’s Jumhooree party, and their ‘independent’ supporters in the Majlis. Indeed, President Nasheed said yesterday that the speaker of the Majlis, DRP MP Abdulla Shahid, is “an honourable man.”

How far this scandal spreads is anyone’s guess, but it is likely to lead to both political and cultural change in the Maldives, as people recognise the real damage that corruption can bring to their institutions.

For centuries, Maldivians have pledged their loyalty to rich men, bodun, whose political power and status was measured by the number of their followers. These loyalties often spanned generations, and the practice of honouring the rich and seeking their ‘benevolence’ was deeply entrenched in the Maldivian psyche. The dictatorship and crony capitalism of the previous Gayoom government welded easily with this old cultural tradition. The democratic revolution of President Nasheed’s administration, and the President’s open condemnation of corruption, is demanding new loyalties to the rule of law, honest administration and institutions, and personal integrity.

It’s a painful process for the old cliques who profited so much and enjoyed high social standing, but a welcome change for the young Maldivian population who see an opportunity to compete and prosper without selling their loyalty and bowing to the bodun.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]

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23 thoughts on “Comment: Thick as thieves”

  1. Nice piece - “Would a Rose by any other name still smell as sweet?”

    you argue here that this is a welcome change for the young Maldivians - It seems like only the old guards resort to corruption - I am no genius on this, but, I am glad, the Govt has admittedly said enough is enough and launched a major crack down on corruption - I will only believe in this when MDP and the MDP PG group is also investigated, because corruption is not just synonymous to Kutti, Gasim, Yamin and Jangiya Nazim.

    What about the rest?? Only time will tell and I will patiently wait.

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  2. Well, everybody's heard about the rose,
    Rose rose rose, rose is the word
    Rose rose rose, rose is the word

    Don't you know about the rose?
    Well, everybody's talking about the rose.

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  3. As soon as main opposition members are locked away, I will be happy. We will have the majority.

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  4. corruption is rife in this country. The corrupt are everywhere. Kutti, Yamin and Gasim got caught in an audio clis recently. So the entire MDP is pointing fingers at them. We have not forgotten FPID and what happened during Ibrahim Husen Zaki's tenure as tourism minister. And we havent forgotten what happened to Redwave saleem's cases when he joined forces with MDP. We havent forgotten what KErafa Naseem did when he was at FISB. We havent forgotten what happend to MP ismail abdul hameed's case. Of course yamin, gasim and a lot of DRP are corrupt. And so are a lot of MDP top ppl.

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  5. You article seems to suggest that this political affiliation between likeminded groups in our parliment is something to be aborred. When President Nasheed showed us the same meeting of differing minds during the election you clapped but when it Gasim or Yameen it becomes treason. The systemic destruction of civil society was engineered by President Nasheed and the buffoons in the MDP. Every rational Maldivian applauded the demise of the dictator but the ensuing failed and adhoc policies of the MDP have snapped the bacbone of the Maldives. There is a reason why nobody could work with Nasheed. Us Maldivians have only ourselves to blame. In our haste to get rid of the dictator we have elected a bigger one.

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  6. In the olden days there was a need to pledge alliance to rich men or bodun.
    It was the only way to survive, to have enough money for medical treatments and so on. Maumoon continued the tradition of patronage by making citizens beg him personally for welfare money.
    If health insurance schemes, loans for education and such become a system, and gets really going, finally Maldivians can get away from this 'sanaa kiyun' system.
    Maybe then corruption won't be so rife, cause Maldivians would be less likely to look away as long as he stands to profit.
    I welcome this governments welfare programmes and all such things that they are trying to implement so that Maldivians can finally live a life of dignity.

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  7. Who is ROSE / ROZ? that's what i want to know? does anyone have any info on that?

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  8. ITS DOOMS DAY,

    Ibrahim Hussein Zaki men ge ah vadhe huri meehakee amaan kan libigen vaa meeheh,

    Kerafa Naseem men ge ah vadhe huri meehakee amaaan kan libigen vaa meeheh

    Sato men ge ah vadhe huri meehakee amaan kan libigen vaa meeheh

    Alhan Fahumee men ge ah vadhe huri meehakee amaan kan libigen vaa meeheh

    Reeko Moosa ge ah vadhe huri meehakee aman kan libigen vaa meeheh

    dhannaasheve, avahah mithan thanah vadhe veytho balaa

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  9. @john

    Wake up and smell the roses. In this case, it might smell like a used jangiyaa.

    Sadly, u don't seem to be capable of knowing the difference. My sympath and condolenses to you.

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  10. Last heard Roze was speculating on pulling down the President's shorts.

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  11. Yes. , Hassan saeeds party has a rose , and as he was formerly known as ' Latheefa ' it seems this lady might be the Rose. And pls note they have a Fist too , isn't it a bit dark and fetish for Hassan saeed party to have a rose and fist

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  12. Its was Dr Hassan Saeed (the lady with love called by Yaan and his gang as Rose). Also one must know Dr.Waheed, Toppy (party SG or the DRP agent inside), Ilyas Hussain (his brother in law) was behind the whole plot!! Otherwise why is Dr.Waheed so silent? Why did toppy go live on VTV to bash the government? Why was Dr.Waheed meeting Gasim in isolation? Why did Dr.Waheed visit Dr.Hassan Saeed to his office at Raaje Chambers lastmonth secrety? There are many questions we need to ask..this is an attempt by Dr.Waheed to push out Anni and get Presidency and run the show with the help of Yameen, Hassan and Gasim!! We are watching every move..remember!

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  13. Few days back DRP's Mahloof recorded a phone conversation with MNBC's Khaleel and sent copies to media! What happened to the rights/laws/constitution? It changes every few days depending on who does this?

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  14. Kutti says "I take money, but it doesn't buy my vote." President Clinton says "I tried marijuana once, I did not inhale."

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  15. People may not like what I have to say here. I feel that we have given too much democracy to the people of this country. We are not ready for such freedom. We do not know what is democracy and how to use it for the betterment of the country. Now of course it is too late. We are seeing the result of giving Maldives a western style of democracy. Singapore also is a democracy but it is a controlled democracy. I think it is the best type for us too.

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  16. Buruma seems manipulated. Everyone was milking him out. What a fool, this guy was spending and ready to spend to his neck hoping that things will turn in his favor. Such an ignorant was trying to become a president. What a shame on those who voted this guy. This guy is good to be gutter cleaner.

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  17. I am so glad now some of us are realizing even a little bit of democracy here. Those days we the public will never argue anything of this kind as open as now. As some have written here about some key people of MDP, yes they also must be washed clean of this disease of corruption. So many I hear saying that when they become MDP members they are all clean and nothing will happen to them. I hope it does not happen that way. I remember President Nasheed telling the people that who ever is appointed by him to office has to be responsible for everything themselves. So if they are corrupted they also have to be investigated. Now that this has started don't stop just do the job accordingly by being color blind. I have faith in our President Nasheed please destroy this disease from our country....btw people we don't have to wait for the President to file cases of corruption we our self can do it if we have proof that some of the names mentioned here are corrupt. Just go on bring them all to justice .....

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  18. john, john....john, wish you knew what you were talking about when you made the allegation that this government restricts civil society (refer 1982 and 2003 laws on civil society). I guess you are one of those self appointed NGO Presidents from Gayoom's time of the "Rose" caliber afflicted with the "I need some cash" syndrome.

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  19. The main issue here is breach of law. There was no official or unofficial approval to record personal calls of MPs.
    the recordings was edited in such a manner to leave what they wanted to hear. They could not play the whole conversation. One asks for funds and recording stops. Doesn't play the part where the reason for this is asked.
    This is very shallow and shows the extent our Government is going to blame others for there failures. This is same as The Watergate scandal. Dictator Nasheed cannot abuse power like this

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  20. in the recording Nazim says they got Rose for only this matter and not for always. this indicates that the person is not a woman .. always means married. Gasim cannot marry Rose because Rose is a woman. So Rose is a man and his asking price for one night in a resort is 1 million. Oh gasim, you dirty old parliamentarian.

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  21. Rose is having multiple Oh Gasims.. each worth 1 million. How delightful.

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