The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a travel warning for the Maldives following recent political turmoil in the country, urging caution around “large political gatherings”, while debate on the political deadlock has spread to the House of Lords in the UK Parliament.
During Question Time, the UK Labour Party’s Lord Foulkes expressed “disappointment that President Nasheed seems to be reverting to the bad habits of his predecessor”, following the detention of People’s Alliance (PA) MP Abdulla Yameen, and urged the government to pressure the Maldives to restore “democratic freedoms”.
Conservative Lord Howell, also State Minister for the FCO, responded that the government was “pursuing full encouragement through our high commission in Colombo and other means to ensure that democratic development continues.”
Nasheed’s restoration of his cabinet ministers was “a step forward”, Howell promised.
Conservative Lord Naseby pointed out that the Maldives “is no longer a protectorate of the United Kingdom… and that being the situation, what role do we have at all to interfere in what is in fact the Maldivian exercise of democracy as they interpret it?”
Yameen meanwhile remains in MNDF custody on the Presidential Retreat ‘Aarah’, although appears free to communicate with the media given that Minivan News was able to contact him yesterday.
The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) – and the government – insist that the MP and high-profile businessman is under ‘protective’ custody after demonstrations outside his home last week turned violent.
Yameen has told local media he does not wish to be detained in ‘protective’ custody. The MNDF have also refused to present him before the court on a court order, raising some international eyebrows.
The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair stuck to that story, insisting Yameen was being “protected” rather than “detained”.
Zuhair also claimed Yameen’s custodial protection was not unconstitutional, as the opposition has claimed, although Minivan News is still awaiting clarification from government lawyers as to how this is so.
“The MNDF is working absolutely within the constitution,” Zuhair said. “Yameen is being held by the MNDF, not the government. If Yameen is concerned about this he will be able to challenge it in court.”
“Dark and evil schemes”
Beyond the debate over Yameen’s detention, and recent court cases concerning the legality of his arrest along with that of Jumhoree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, Zuhair said that given the severity of the allegations against them, neither could be considered prisoners of conscience.
“I cannot describe these people as political leaders – they are accused of high crimes and plots against the state,” Zuhair said.
“These MPs are two individuals of high net worth – tycoons with vested interests,” he explained. “In pursuing their business interests they became enormously rich during the previous regime, and now they are trying to use their ill-gotten gains to bribe members in the Majlis and judiciary to keep themselves in power and above the fray.”
“They were up to all sorts of dark and evil schemes,” Zuhair alleged. “There were plans afoot to topple the government illegally before the interim period was over.”
Zuhair explained that the government felt obliged to take action after six MDP MPs came forward with statements alleging Yameen and Gasim had attempted to bribe them to vote against the government.
The opposition PA-DRP coalition already has a small voting majority, with the addition of supportive independent MPs, however certain votes require a two-thirds majority of the 77 member chamber – such as a no-confidence motion to impeach the president or vice-president.
“In one incident early on in this administration, following the President’s return from Italy, they set up a telephone and a video camera in a committee room in parliament, brought a judge to sit in, and then tried to get two members of the president’s delegation swear on the Qur’an under oath that the President was drinking alcohol,” Zuhair observed.
The privatisation of Male’ International airport had clashed with the vested interests of the accused MPs, Zuhair claimed, sparking the current political debacle.
“Gasim was concerned the new airport might take the charter flights he had intended would be landing at the new airport he is building in Maamagilli,” Zuhair alleged, “while Yameen is a third party supplier of fuel at Male International Airport through the Maldives National Oil Company, which has representation in Singapore.”
The fuel trade is the most immediately lucrative part of the airport deal, Minivan News understands, and is a key reason behind both GMR’s interest and the government’s decision to award the contract to the Indian infrastructure giant. GMR has told Minivan News it will amalgamate the trade under one umbrella, a decision that will likely affect current third party suppliers.
Meanwhile Opposition DQP leader Hassan Saeed, who opposed the airport privatisation and is currently lobbying in the UK for international support for Yameen’s release, “is receiving huge legal fees from both Yameen and Gasim,” Zuhair claimed.
A coalition of NGOs including Madulu, the Maldivian Democracy Network, Huvadhoo Aid, Transparency Maldives, Maldives Youth Action Network, HAND and Democracy House, meanwhile issued a statement “categorically denouncing the undemocratic actions of the three Powers of the State, at a time when democracy is in its infant stages in the Maldives.”
“We believe recent political and civil unrest is a consequence of these three arms of the State disregarding the spirit of the Maldivian Constitution,” the NGOs said. “We believe a culture of manipulation of the law to infringe upon the rights of one another has developed and that the three arms of the State have failed to give each other due respect.”
“It is not responsible on the part of the parliament, that they should pass laws that undermine the powers of the executive.
“It is unacceptable that the executive, should use its powers to harass and deter the functioning of the parliament, to disrepute the judiciary and to try to exert undue influence on the judicial system.
“The lack of consistency in the rulings of the courts, and actions which undermine the trust of the people in the judicial system are contrary to the high standards which are expected of Judges. We call upon the judiciary to work to restore the people’s faith in the judicial system.
The NGOs added that “other concerned State institutions” have also failed to “give due regard to the situation” and have acted irresponsibly.
The coalition also urged political parties to refrain from bringing violence to the streets, but condemned the security forces “for stepping outside the boundaries of the law with regards to arrest and detention” and the recent distribution of private telephone conversations by the media containing implications of corruption behaviour among MPs.
Between a rock and the Maldives
The government well aware of its status as international darling on climate change, but Nasheed appears willing to risk international censure for the sake of isolating Yameen while the state accumulates evidence in the background. Police were preparing to “make a splash” on the subject, Zuhair hinted.
However even if this evidence is obtained, demands from the international community – and opposition – that the government respect the rule of law and the judicial system, mean the government is faced with the new problem of legitimising its case against the businessmen and opposition leaders, now that allegations of obstruction have been levelled at the judiciary – including, yesterday, from the police themselves.
The government has been urging public respect for the judicial system – and the President’s Political Advisor Hassan Afeef has stated that the government will abide by any rulings from the Supreme Court.
The Judicial Services Commission (JSC), tasked with reforming the judicial system, has three sitting judges as members and vested interests, according to the President’s outspoken member on the commission, Aishath Velezinee.
“Of the 207 of the judges currently in office, 39 have degrees or higher. Some left school before grade seven, meaning they haven’t completed primary school,” Velezinee noted.
In addition there are seven sitting judges found guilty of a criminal breach of trust; five with allegations of a criminal breach of trust; two being prosecuted for an alleged breach of trust; one on trial for sexual misconduct; two have been found guilty of sexual misconduct; one was found guilty for an offence which had a prescribed punishment in Islam; and another who has both been accused of a criminal breach of trust, and found guilty of sexual misconduct – a total of 19 with documented criminal history.
Behind the scenes the executive is racing to nominate new judges before the interim period concludes on August 7, when sitting judges are granted automatic tenure.
However nominations for any new judges will have to be approved by the Majlis, which was cancelled this morning on points of order that developed into a scuffle outside.
“[The MPs] are trying to derail the process,” suggested Zuhair. “They are also panicking because they have no way of knowing who is going to be [implicated] by these corruption charges.”
As for tourists reading the today’s travel advisory urging caution in the capital, Zuhair observed that they “should be happier to know the top dollars they are paying are not being used for corrupt purposes.”
35 thoughts on “Government investigates accused MPs’ “dark and evil schemes”, while UK issues travel advisory”
President Nasheed is nothing but a DICTATOR. He has always been one.
The present conflict between the Maldivian President (and the government) on the one hand and the Majlis (Parliament) and the Judiciary on the other reminds me of a similar conflict in the Russian Federation soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In Russia, it was a conflict between President Jeltsin on the one hand, and the country's Parliament and the Constitutional Court on the other.
The conflict ended in victory for President Jeltsin and defeat for Parliament and the Constitutional Court.
The "Ring Leaders" were arrested and jailed.
President Jeltsin was able to win because of the support and loyalty of the military, and the Police.
President Jeltsin was the first popularly elected President in Russian history.
Jeltsin comfortably won the next Presidential election too.
Parallels between Russia at that time, and Maldives now are striking.
Parallels between President Jeltsin and President Nasheed are also striking. Nasheed is the first elected president in Maldivian history.
Parallels between Russia and Maldives as nations are also striking, because in neither of these countries is there a tradition of liberal Western-style parliamentary democracy.
Further, in both these countries, business tycoons are aspiring and hungry for political power.
Russia had the Tsars to be followed by the Soviet dictators.
Maldives had tata tata, you know who. I am thinking of Mohamed Ameen, Ibrahim Nasir and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The last of the three was and is the most formidable of them three.
A word of caution for political forecasters is that no two countries are exactly alike; not even Russia and the Maldives.No two situations either.
The outcome of the current stand-off between the three organs of state-power in the Maldives cannot be predicted.
But its implications for the infant Maldivian democracy cannot be over-estimated.
I do not envy the position of the current Maldivian President.
I wish him and his colleagues good luck. That is all I can do.
A Maldivian in exile, abroad
Let's all remember who Yameen is. Dictator Gayoom's brother who, in 30 years of authoritarian rule and living above the law, morphed into an Al Capone character, who is now trying to bring down the democratic government to preserve his ill gotten gains.
Police should not only be looking for evidence of bribery. More importantly, they should look for evidence of blackmail which would be the favourite tool of Jangiyaa Nazim.
Jangiyaa's most precious assets now would be his cache of video and other footage of key people in power whom he has managed to compromise. The Police urgently need to uncover this material...
Arrest the Supreme Court Judges... MNDF can do that...
Zuhair alleged, “while Yameen is a third party supplier of fuel at Male International Airport through the Maldives National Oil Company, which has representation in Singapore.”
Mr Press Secretary, you have made a very seriouse accusation about Maldives Oil Company and would ask their principal holding compay STO to clarify this statement.
"the UK Labour Party’s Lord Foulkes expressed “disappointment that President Nasheed seems to be reverting to the bad habits of his predecessor”,
A very seriouse statment and a concern for people of Maldives.
Again the mouth piece of Hep trying to deviate the facts. The said National Oil company is now a baby of famous Sore. Sore is the chairman appointed by president. .... So who could be the third party.
Would the government conduct a investigation on how Thuladhoo member was bought by MDP parliamentary group?
Now that cannot be done, would it? That would be a confilict of interest. Government investigating their own Parliament members..
The day Yameen was kidnapped by MNDF, the very day MDP demonstration led by Ministers called for Yameed to be KILLED and Chief justice to be KILLED, President Nasheed became a bigger evil to our nation than anyone else.
Econmomic Sensation will put on Maldives soon. Then how u can run the govt with One resort island.....heheheheh
Good analysis. We need more articles like this.
If Nasheed is going to investigate corruption he has to investigate the activities of the Koligey clan, the Champas, the Athamas, Jabir, Red Wave Saleem and many others. Just picking on a few to achieve political gains is not what we want.
Just a note on the NGO statement.
The courts have been acting the way you have said for at least a year. The parliament has been acting the way you have said for at least 3 months. The executive has been acting the way you have said for at most 2 weeks.
Where have you been all this time? Now you see this?
"economic sensation" lol
Michael Fahmy. It is just as well you said no two countries are alike and inserted that word of caution. Until then I was sitting on the edge of my chair wondering if you were going to draw a parallel using Mr Yelstin's passion for vodka. It is always good to see an old timer on the web. Your spelling of the former Russian leader's surname betrays where you have lived all these decades.
"economic sensation" ?? seriously? get your wordings right before you speak and make a fool of yourself.
One of the main aspects of the constitution is the independance of the judiciary. When a parliamentarian (Yamin) controls the judiciary, it is absolutely necessary that the judiciary and that parliamentarian be removed from power to preserve the effective working of the constition. This move is constituional cleansing, it is creating a situation where the constition really operates. MDP are fighting for the integrity of the constition, they are not suspending or violating the constition, the constitution was already destroyed by the parliamentarians and judges who violated it, Anni is fixing it! Yamin and the Judges already broke the constition down Anni is mending the constition by removing those who violate and destroy it. Simple. This, what MDP is doing, is what is necessary for liberal democracy to be realized... This is what is necessary to make the constitution work...This move by MDP and MNDF is necessary for the salvation of the constition and of democracy in the Maldives.
This is a move to force the evils to obey the constitution, this is a fight for liberty...
It is good to finally see the government speak a bit more in detail about the corruption each one of these political figures are into. I would not have known about their business interest in these companies/businesses unless I was told about it. Also it all made very clear sense. Only an uneducated or self-denial type of person would actually still support corrupted politicians. Everyone should help in bringing them to justice. Only once we successfully convict the biggest corrupted ones in the country, can we go after more of the little fish. So even some inside MDP should be investigated after the first batch are successfully convicted. I as a Muslim would request the government to give Shariah punishment to them.
I do not know what is the use of NGOs at times. They are good in helping people when in need, but political situations like this is not their part to play. Basically they are just repeating what everyone knows without giving any solution to it. Come with a solution on how we can convict the corrupted people in this country, so that there will be an importance to your statements.
Demonstrations are boring to some when there is no chanting. I personally do not call for the execution for these people without them firstly going through a fair and transparent trial with a non-corrupted judge. Only then can we know how far the corruption goes. Only then can we come up with a punishment suitable according to the crime.
So if you go to any demonstration in Maldives, be it from opposition or MDP, there will always be people chanting death or kill to someone or another. Remember Maldives is still very young to democracy. If someone had killed someone, raped someone or insulted the Prophet (pbuh).. then I would support death sentence even before a court hearing can start.
The Supreme Court Judges needs to be arrested and replaced. They have no moral value and respect for the weak or the victims of crimes. Why aren't the NGOs going after them? Why are they not petitioning against them or having demos in front of their homes? Are they not the ones that are letting criminals walk freely. Some Judges have sexual allegations and convictions against them in other courts. So where is the heated anger towards them? The people of law with criminal records are a joke to everyone else.
Well atleast now Yameen's fuel connection is now out in the open. Who in his right mind can believe that his opposition to privatization of the airport stems from concern for the country? Its more like concern for the money he will loose if GMR does not let him continue selling fuel.
MNDF - Mohamed Nasheed Defence Force
MNBC - Mohamed Nasheed Broadcasting Coporation.
The whole country is becoming a Mohamed Nasheed Private Limited.
NGOs have been speaking out against the judiciary since all this became fashionable. Check out the Just campaign conducted by a group of NGOs. 1500 petitions were handed over to the JSC which were ignored.
Yameen and J Nazim are exactly where they deserve to be. They would never help this country.
Ha ha ha too bad you guys out there who hate Anni. Maldives National and Mohammed Nasheed share the same initials. MN. So all companies and institutions starting off with Maldives National will carry the same initial as Mohammed Nasheed.
Dhiraagu is chaning its color from Red to Yellow.
What is Gasim doing investing in additional businesses such as the airport in maamigili when he owes so much money to people?! And sadly the legal and court system in this country is such that people like Gasim can get away with it. Shame on you Gasim for talking about people's rights to further your political agenda, when you are using other people's money and their right to further your business!!!
EU and Commonweath puting “economic sensation” on Maldives. Then what GMR can do? no flights, no guests, no money.
Will GMR will drink fuel? Will they alive without flights? in this case Yameen’s fuel connection will be free for Maldivian. heheheheh
Now the Govt doing something bad to opesition leaders. after sometimes all will change their colors to YELOW. then no more curruption cases will investigate by police. Mr.Ganjabo needs to change colors of oppositions to YELOW. then he can be next 21st Century DECTATOR for next 30 years. He also wants to rule this country for 30 years, like Maumoon. His activities showa that he needs more power over all insitutions and wants to be a commander of all insitutions. Before he was become president on the road he was shout and crying and said to the poeple he will be far for all and will respect laws. but he did not do that. and same he was promised. So any body think this man is the president of Maldives? I'm sure this man is the DECTATOR...
I'm working in Travel Agency, most of the Tour Operators started to cancelling books. As EU and Commonwealth expressed concered over Maldives govt. and “economic sensation” will put soon. then no guest, no salary, will get hunger. IS THIS THE NEW MALDIVES YOU HAVE CHOOSEN ?
Your President showing just act. the case he is beating with opositions is he didnt get more majulis members. When he gets more members, then no bribe, no investigations. He just want to show them fear and turn them to govt side. He dont want anybody say anything against him. He needs all positive.....this man is getting mental....hehehehehehe
Nasheed's dictatorial actions must be stopped.
Lord Foulkes can take his title, stick a live grenade on it and hide it where the sun don't shine.
If he thinks we will just forgive years of tyranny, abuse, drugs and corruption to put on a pretty face for the outside world, he is sorely mistaken.
And when people who have suffered under tyranny of Yameen and his cadre of thug politicians call for their destruction out of the frustration of watching helplessly as they get off scot-free no thanks to criminal courts under their thumb... they are labeled "war criminals" and "evil" by the cowardly opposition.
We will not forgive. We will not forget. Expect us.
@ NO MAN
Its ECONOMIC SANCTIONS!!!!! not sensation!! thats what i meant.
And this is for everyone who go it wrong
where can i get some economic sensation?
Economic sanctions are actions taken by one country to another country for several reasons. Mostly because of disputes among countries and other similar things. But it rarely happens because of a political instability in the country.
In this particular case, UK has only given out an travel advisory. Which means "please check the situation of the country before you arrive there". That's all!
So please have your cake and tea, at your comfort. All is well here in paradise.
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