DRP condemns NYT ‘looters’ article as “cheap propaganda gimmick”

The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has issued a statement condemning an article published in the New York Times, in which journalist by Matthew Saltmarsh described former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as a “looter” and alleged he had misappropriated state funds.

The article further claimed that the present government was working with the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), a joint initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations, to recover US$400 million allegedly stolen by the former administration.

The DRP stated that the repeated accusations of embezzlement leveled at Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom “are the MDP government’s last ditch efforts to resuscitate its waning public support and confidence in the face of its failure to manage the Maldivian economy.”

“The MDP government, in an year and a half of searching through its ‘presidential commission’, has failed to find anything that they can pin against President Gayoom to defame his character. The MDP government will continue to fail in their sinister plots,” the DRP statement read.

“This latest accusation is no different from that by MDP official Hassan Afeef in the run up to the 2008 Presidential Election. A defamation suit was filed against him. It is notable that Afeef has to date ignored the verdict of the court of the set compensation,” the statement noted, adding that “local MDP-controlled newsletter ‘Miadhu’ has also published an article repeating the many lies in Matthew Saltmarsh’s article.”

The party observed that the allegations in the NYT article were largely based on a 2009 report by Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem, who “was sacked recently following serious acts of corruption and misappropriation of state funds.”

“It is common knowledge that Naeem’s audit reports were both politically-motivated and riddled with inaccuracies. References from such documents are unbecoming of professional journalists, albeit the MDP government utilises them as handbooks to achieve their political objectives. Furthermore, the fact that Finance Minister Ali Hashim had himself provided the quotes for the article is notable,” the DRP statement said.

“The DRP will take all necessary action to alert the international community to the government’s sinister motives behind the allegations against the Former President. We condemn the government for its continued attempts to shroud its incompetence in running the country behind cheap propaganda gimmicks.”

Speaking to newspaper Haveeru, Gayoom dismissed claims in the audit report as “politically-motivated” and “lies from A to Z”, and vowed to “protect myself from defamation” by taking both Saltmarsh and Hashim to court.

“He [the former Auditor General] issued the reports during the 2008 presidential election with certain political motives,” Gayoom told Haveeru.

“The reports were directly targeted at me with an agenda to attack my dignity, just a day before voting began. Moreover, the reports are definitely questionable, since he was sacked by parliament through a no confidence motion,” Gayoom said, insisting he had “never abused state funds.”

Government could be seeking US assistance

Meanwhile, newspaper Miadhu carried unverified claims this morning that Hashim, along with Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed, Home Minister Mohamed Shihab and Attorney General Husnu Suood, had rendezvoused in Europe to meet with FBI officials “at an unidentified location in the European continent.”

Hashim told Minivan News he had nothing to clarify as he had “never met FBI officials anywhere in the world.”

The Foreign Minister appeared to be in no hurry to dispel the rumours, however.

“Should that meeting have taken place, obviously we wouldn’t be talking about it,” Dr Shaheed said. “What I can say is that the government is serious about reclaiming stolen assets, and we’re very confident it will happen really quickly.”

He said he doubted Gayoom or the DRP had a viable case against the NYT.

“The DRP should consider the distinct international legalities governing past and present politicians, particularly heads of state. Mr Gayoom should recognise that people in such positions will face criticism.”

“I don’t think they are serious,” he said. “In defamation lawsuits the onus is on public figures to prove malicious intent or reckless disregard for the truth. One must have a lot of money to hire a hotshot lawyer capable of proving that against a particular article by the NYT.”


22 thoughts on “DRP condemns NYT ‘looters’ article as “cheap propaganda gimmick””

  1. It's funny how DRP suddenly has amnesia over it's economic 'management' during the last regime. How quickly they forget the near bankrupt status of the country when they were ousted from power.

    I'm sure the international community would love to here from them as to why they failed to listen to the warnings from the World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank etc on the economic crisis faced by the country.

  2. If Dr Shaheed's "the father of democracy" has misused state funds there is a high probability that some of it would have been shared with Shaheed himself when he was Gayoom's minister. Cough! Cough! Wasn't it the government's welfare fund that provided for Dr Shaheed's medical trips to Singapore, pocket money etc. Wasn't this money meant for the very poor?

  3. this is a hilarious political entertainment, which MDP acting every now and then , the public is confused and now the reality is people don’t buy these bits and pieces in Maldives even if dictator maumoon stole 1billion dollars! , i believe this method of harassing maumoon the dictator will only go until he signs to MDP, after that no more for sure, …
    fine examples are : the guy who was portrayed by the MDP mouthpieces as the ‘notoriously corrupt Red wave saleem’ also one of the closest ally of maumoon's brother is now on MDP side, so currently he's on a clean sheet! , no one talks about him ., and the loly jabir is now with MDP the only certificate he's got is his wife, ...,so please realize that public has lost faith on this deteriorating government , with no intention to be authentic on their path to governance , which is five pledges of MDP government !!

  4. It is a fact that MDP government is more unpopular at present than the last few years of Gayoom's 30 year government. MDP backed new papers seems to be claiming that they there had been meetings with FBI in undisclosed locations. This is all bogus stories made by MDP activists. Its just so stupid of them to make up these stories and publish in their puppet news papers. Why on earth should FBI meet anyone in a secrete location about recovering stolen government assets.
    Second issue is Dr. Shaheed should be the last person to talk about honesty and integrity. All maldivians, old and young, wise and stupid, men and women know that shaheed is most selfish and shameless politician the country has witnessed in recent years.

  5. I wish Maumoon will sue NYT. Dirt will come out in bags once a proper trial is under way.

    As for a case against Maumoon and his aides in Maldives, I think people are waiting until we have at least some uncorrupted judges that are not on Maumoon's payroll. Not wise to take legal action until justice system escapes the claws of Maumoon or else the opportunity will simply be lost with a dismissed case.

  6. Dr Shaheed, you may wear a suit and sit next to President, and bark like a dog in MDP Haruge, 99% of Maldivians have no trust in you. The only few who are those who have no choice but to be behind you.. Like Iruthisham (The one who helped you to publish this report)also happened to be your cousin in law.

    Even Firaun and Abu Jahl will run away when you come close to them...

  7. NYT article was cheap and old scrap which has been said here over and over again. What we would liked to hear is the Riyaasee commissions report. What happened to the investigation? Stalled? NYT article is another political game orchestrated by Doc Shaheed. He did exactly same when he was working for Gayoom.

    FBI, Interpol or Star needs a court rulling from Maldivian Court to prove that the money is stolen. Dr Shaheed dont be rediculus and please dont make a fool of us. Dont put horse b4 the cart.

  8. MDP s popularity is so low now that they are desperate to go for such cheap stunts. I believe these same old stories are coming up again to influence the local council elections. As desperate measures they are getting on board all the corrupt people of this country namely Lolly Jabir and Red wave Saleem.
    As for Dr Shaheed, I don’t think he can fool anybody now. He is the one turned around the “Hussaib Solah’s murder case” and he is the one who wanted MDP s “janaazaa”. He is in short a political prostitute. If Umar Naseer or Monaza Naeem becomes president tomorrow Dr Shaheed will change his tune.

  9. MDP should resign and hand over the government who are capable. I am really tired of hearing the “30years of corruption” and “economic crisis” as an excuse for this government s inability to run this country. It’s been almost 2 years since the new government and they still can’t find enough evidence to put the old man behind bars. I no longer believe that they are anything to find anymore.
    But this government should be audited thoroughly as I am sure half of the ministries would be in trouble.

  10. Very true. Waleed. Im really really tired of hearing the “30years of corruption” and “economic crisis” story too. Ok, we know that there was a lot of abuse during Gayoom's 30 years. But during the 18months this govt has been in power they have failed to produce any incriminating evidence. So instead of repeating the same story why dont MDP focus their attention on delivering their pledges to the people. After all we didnt elect MDP to dig Gayoom's grave. We did so because we wanted to forget about Gayoom and build a new life. And now the MDP which we elected has been highjacked by the very men including the notorious spin doc who were vociferously defending Gayoom to the hilt calling him the fatehr of democracy. Shame on the man who accepted this treacherous chameleon into the high ranks of MDP.

  11. This MDP "heyoverikan" has turned out to be a bunch of delinquents. They could not fulfill atleast one of their promise. How shameful of them to do such a stunt with poor Maldivians money to deceive its citizen. Finally, Reeko and other MDP could stretch this story in Haruge for a long time to deceive its grassroot supporters.

  12. Where is the reality? why we still digging mass money that previous government loot? Why VP asking for this in favor of USA? Lots of question need to be answer now, while government claim there the most perfect freedom press

  13. @Prophecies: If you cannot express in English, please feel free to use Dhivehi Language.
    Maumoon and his cronies did loot the hard earned tourism dollars from the Maldives. No one can deny that. Corruption was the norm in his government. He ran the country as if he owned the country and its people. Alas, he was beaten by a smart journalist.

  14. cannot take any more excuses from MDP... We elected you because we knew Maumoon was corrupt ---

    and please do not say that you cannot fulfil your election promises without the maumoon stole ...

    No more excuses ...

  15. hahaha ...DRP loves to act on these kinda things fast. Think of those days when you guys gave public announcement stating that entire opposition were criminals, terrorists and even went to the extent of trying them terrorism acts. Get a life buddies.

  16. @ahmed 3:54pm


    Excuses, and more excuses, nothing good for the economy so far!

  17. I have spoken to a few expatriates in Maldives. They say our society has become more corrupt than the past regime. PERIOD.


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