The Maldives Police Service has said it is looking into a corruption case involving Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Ali Waheed, in collaboration with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).
Speaking to Minivan News, Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that police had received the case. He declined to provide any details regarding the case.
Local newspaper Haveeru reported that the case involved Ali Waheed’s mother purchasing land in Male’ during October 2011. Haveeru alleged the net total of the sale stood at MVR 7.938 million (US$514,000), and suggested Waheed’s involvement in the transaction. However, it reported that the extent of Waheed’s involvement remained “unclear”.
Ali Waheed’s mother Zuhuraa had at the time claimed the money for the sale came from her husband’s savings, but some local media outlets have reported that the sale was funded by the construction giant TAP Construction Private limited.
Speaking to Minivan News, President of the ACC Hassan Luthfee also confirmed that the institution was investigating a case concerning the Thoddoo MP.
“We have earlier received complaints regarding the MP taking bribes following his defection from Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to the MDP. There were also claims that he had utilised the money he received as bribes to buy a house. We are investigating the matter,” Luthfee said.
The ACC President added that the ACC had occasionally requested technical assistance from police in investigating corruption cases and that this case was no different.
In May 2011, Ali Waheed switched sides from DRP to MDP claiming a lack of internal democracy within his former party. Following the defection, several then opposition parliamentarians alleged that Waheed had sold himself to the then ruling MDP and former President Nasheed. Waheed dismissed the allegations.
A few days later, the media reported Waheed’s bid to purchase land in Hulhumale’.
Following the coverage, Waheed alleged that local journalists had politicised a private real estate dealing, in which he had won a bid for a beach house in Hulhumale’ and paid an upfront sum of MVR 1 million.
Waheed won the beachfront house for Rf4.6 million (US$300,000), bidding MVR 3020 (US$195) per square foot. His wife also reportedly won a house.
“The house will become my property only after I finish the rest of the payment within five years,” Waheed said in a press statement released at the time. “However, the story of this business transaction was spun in the media, with [outlets] writing ‘Ali Waheed and his wife have bought two houses in Hulhumale’ for Rf 9.4 million’ (US$600,000)’ in their headlines.’’
In a press statement on Wednesday, Ali Waheed alleged the case was a politically motivated attempt to intimidate him after Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee (EOC) – on which Waheed sits as the chair – alleged flaws within the report by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) concerning the February 2012 transfer of power.
The CNI report in August 2012 concluded that the transfer of power that took place was not a coup as alleged by the MDP, and insisted that the new government was legitimate. However, the parliamentary select committee has claimed the report was “flawed” and missed out key information.
“I have been receiving threats from the government who have said that I and my family will be arrested if I do not resign from the MDP and as the chairman of the EOC. The threats were repeated after parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid’s brother was arrested,” read Waheed’s statement.
On February 7, the brother of Speaker Shahid, Mohamed Shahid, and former Controller of Immigration Abdulla Shahid and three others, were arrested in connection with an alleged fraud case concerning the Disaster Management Centre, worth MVR 24 million (US$1.57 million).
Following the arrest Speaker Shahid tweeted that the police officers who went to arrest his brother violated the sanctity of his house and entered his parent’s bedroom.
‘’I strongly condemn the violation of the sanctity of my residence and my parent’s bedroom by Maldives Police SO (Special Operations) today,’’ Shahid tweeted on Thursday.
Waheed further claimed that he had nothing to hide from the authorities and added that neither the ACC nor the police had asked him to come in for questioning, which he claimed “proved that there were no discrepancies”.
However, ACC President Luthfee said that Waheed would be called in for questioning when “the time comes”.
“The government cannot manipulate me. I have the remote that controls me, not them,” said Waheed, concluding his statement.