Government withholding allowance, claims office of former President

The office of former President Mohamed Nasheed has accused the government of “negligence” in providing the legally-mandated monthly allowance to cover expenses of the former’s president’s office.

In a press release on Thursday, the former president’s office noted that article 8 of the Privileges and Protection for Former President’s Act (Dhivehi) states, “In the event that a former president wishes to conduct social work beneficial to the community, the state shall provide up to MVR175,000 (US$11,350) a month to arrange for an office, employees and other matters.”

The social work to be carried out by the former president’s office included “efforts to develop and strengthen democracy,” the press release explained.

Article 128 of the constitution states that a former president “serving his term of office lawfully without committing any offence, shall be entitled to the highest honour dignity, protection, financial privileges and other privileges entitled to a person who has served in the highest office of the land.”

The Privileges and Protection for former Presidents Act of 2009 was the first piece of legislation passed by the 17th parliament elected in May 2009.

The press release meanwhile revealed that the government first provided the state benefits due to the former president by law “four months after he left office” when a letter was sent to the Finance Ministry on April 30.

However, the financial benefits were discontinued four months later in August 2012.

Officials of various rank at the Finance Ministry as well as Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad were approached “repeatedly” regarding the benefits and all requested information was provided in a letter on August 27, 2012.

While Finance Minister Jihad had said that the ministry would send a letter seeking further information concerning the work of the former president’s office, the press release noted that the said letter had not been sent as of November.

On Jihad’s claim to local media that he was unaware of the location of the office and had sent a letter seeking clarification, the press release stated that “the minister should believe that a letter sent to an office whose address he did not know would not be delivered.”

“We note that this office has not been informed of the reasons for the sudden discontinuation of the benefits previously provided,” the former president’s office said, adding that a “verbal explanation” by ministry officials that the benefits were discontinued on orders from the Finance Committee of parliament was refuted by the committee.

While the amounts to be paid as benefits were specified in the law, the press release alleged that the Finance Ministry had not deposited the full amounts.

The law stipulates a monthly allowance of MVR 50,000 (US$3,243) for a president who has served one term.

The former president’s office expressed concern with the ministry’s failure to adhere to the law and called on the government to “respect the laws” and ensure “administrative fairness” by the state.

In October, local media gave conflicting statements regarding the reasons for the withholding of Nasheed’s office allowance.

Sun Online reported Jihad as saying that the issue was related to the unknown location of Nasheed’s office whereas Haveeru said that the suspension of privileges was related to a disagreement over whether former presidents were required to conduct charitable activities.

“In reality, the office should be involved in holding social activities. However, the concern of these members is that there is no social work to be seen by the (Nasheed’s) office,” Jihad was quoted by Haveeru.

“It has to be clarified. Hence the financial allowances have been halted for the time being. We still haven’t been provided with the information we sought in relation to the office,” Jihad told the paper.

Meanwhile, in March, the government had questioned Nasheed’s eligibility for state benefits on the grounds that he had not completed a full five-year term in office.

In June, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Hamza revealed that the state had spent MVR 1.3 million (US$84,300) on healthcare costs for former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his wife from 2010 to April 2012.

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10 thoughts on “Government withholding allowance, claims office of former President”

  1. This is a dirty government.

    This traitor government, with its coalition partners will do everything dirty (such as this, and more) if it especially involve President Nasheed and the Party, MDP.

    If I were President Nasheed, I would approach a bench (which is not very likely of him) even just for the hack of it!

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  2. Where is this social work Ex-President Nasheed is purported to carry out?

    I don't mean to nitpick but at least Qayyoom does operate a Foundation that awards scholarships and sponsorship for tertiary-level training.

    Nasheed needs to really step up his game. If he wishes to funnel the monthly MVR 175,000 for party activities he needs to consult his lawyers and come up with some sort of community-service that could score him extra points.

    In all earnestness I believe that this allowance should be discontinued for any former President who remains active in politics. By that I mean both Nasheed and Qayyoom.

    How can we expect either one of them not to use the public money provided to them for their political gain when both of them are actively campaigning for power.

    After all the yearly payment of around 2 million Maldivian Rufiyaa comes out of our GST payments and our businesses.

    For shame Nasheed! For shame Qayyoom! The both of you need to learn that there is a public out there who understands the reckless disregard with which you are treating us.

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  3. Mohamed Nasheed was the first president in Maldives who attempted to get rid of Islam. He should be awarded for that. He should have let his british friends take these sunni idiots to the guantanamo bay where they belong,

    India should attack this stupid country, take all the resorts,

    And implement the caste system in Maldives, and make all Maldivians the lower caste of india

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  4. You stupid Maldivian Naaish, are you against freedom of expression unlike india? then post my comments

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  5. Nasheed failed to establish an office to carry out his legally mandated activities. The question is where does the office is located in. As said by Nasheed’s close friends, shall the gov believe that his office is in the air, or it is the streets as said by MP Ali Waheed.

    Nasheed need to behave like a grown man.
    When Nasheed talk about “Respecting [complying] Law”…”administrative fairness”, it seems to me that when it comes to his demands all shall respect law, and he had deprived our right to protest and assembly during his administration.
    When he was faced with the criticisms, he himself and his followers were of the opinion that HEAD of STATE should have such powers.

    The social work to be carried out by the former president’s office included “efforts to develop and strengthen democracy,” the press release explained.
    Some of the Social Activities that former President requires to carryout includes the following;

    Calling to boycott Maldivian tourism, which stand for the highest revenue source
    Defying Court orders just to take a state funded photograph
    Applauding attacks on public officials

    Now our funds have to be paid both to Boycott tourism and Promote Tourism.

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  6. Anni is not doing social work and he is campaigning for his presidency which does not require to spend from public money.

    MDP is getting the money to promote the party which is the funds that Government

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  7. @Indira NewDelhi

    Interesting that you should write that President Nasheed tried to get rid of Islam..... Hassan Saeed and Jameel and co who make these comments usually.

    I find it deeply offensive that you should make this statement.

    Your comments seek to create conflict and anger. What's the point?

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  8. @tsk tsk

    "I don’t mean to nitpick but at least Qayyoom does operate a Foundation that awards scholarships and sponsorship for tertiary-level training."

    My friend, you are not nitpicking anything, but is completely taring apart the very fact that Nasheed is doing everything possible to bring social equality and well being to the peoples of Maldives, whilst diverting people's mind into something variably not true!

    Truly your Gayyoom with a Q, does things truly the way you carefully mention.
    Where as Nasheed does it in mind and deed! Fact!

    And yes, awarding scholarships and sponsorships as you mention to show that your Gayyoom with a Q, is doing a very great and wonderful thing.

    Tertiary level you mention here, is the level what evolution theory believers note is the time when mammals were dominant, and modern plants started evolving. If this is the level your Gayyoom with a Q is helping people with scholarships and sponsorships it simply is great!

    By the way, is it not possible you and your Gayyoom with a Q, is using our money to spread Christianity starting at this tertiary level? And also do nose jobs and tit jobs (highly social work)for people of your kind?

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  9. @Patriot:

    Yes, yes you support and love your leader and will defend him come hell or high water.

    But I will never support the State's use of taxpayers money to finance questionable projects without any documentation or audit of how the funds are spent. Never in a million years. I don't care if it's Nasheed, Qayyoom or the Dalai Lama who does the spending. All three have to provide the State with details of planned expenditure as well as an account of how those funds are spent. Ideally, these so-called 'former Presidents' should also be provided that allowance only if they resign from active politics.

    Or else what are we doing? Financing Nasheed and Qayyoom's popularity stunts so that they both can outshine any other person who campaigns for the top post? Wonderful then. Why don't we also print out their posters and send Civil Servants out on the streets to stick them up on public buildings.

    You can idealize and idolize your chosen leader as it is clearly within your rights. However you don't have to make personal attacks on other people to do so.

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