Dead man found in city park

A man has been found dead at the city park on Alikilegefaanu Magu in Malé around 9:40am this morning.

Police have identified the deceased as Ahmed Nazeem, 27, from Fuvahmulah, but said the cause of death remains unclear.

Police took the body to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead upon arrival.

An elderly man was meanwhile found dead in the lagoon of Raa Alifushi today.

According to local media, the man was over 65 years of age and was found around 8:40am.

An island councillor said it was unlikely that the deceased, identified as Alibe from the Kinaaraa house, had gone swimming.


Ruling party wins Alifushi by-election amid bribery claims

The  ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has won a council by-election in Raa atoll Alifushi amid accusations of vote-buying and a high-profile handout of air-conditioners to the local school.

PPM candidate Aminath Ali won 685 votes at the by-election held on Saturday, while Ali Hameed, the candidate from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), received 490 votes of a total 1175 valid votes cast.

However, the MDP said it had not been a fair fight, as members of the PPM had donated air-conditioners and cash to the island school shortly before the vote. They also alleged that vote-buying had taken place.

The MP for Alifushi constituency, Mohamed “Bigey” Rasheed Hussein, told Minivan News: “PPM did not campaign. They bought votes and used tactics of anti-campaigning.”

A government delegation that included ministers and parliamentarians visited Alifushi two weeks before the by-election and handed MVR 10,000 from First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim to the island school, while presenting the donation of air-conditioners.

Asked about the air-con systems, Ahmed Nihan, leader of the PPM parliamentary group, said: “The ACs were gifts from Abdul Raheem Abdulla [vice president of the PPM].”

“Members giving out gifts is not intended for corruption or to influence the election,” he added.

Nihan said that MPs being socially involved and helping citizens did not constitute a reason to accuse them of corruption, and denied any connection with the vote.

The PPM’s election win in an opposition stronghold parliamentary constituency indicated the growing support for the government, despite the recent coalition between MDP and former PPM allies, the religious conservative Adhaalath Party and Jumhooree Party.

“This is a government win over the MDP, Adhaalath Party and the Jumhooree Party, over all opposition parties. We are very proud since we won this election at a time when all of these parties were on the island campaigning against us,” PPM deputy leader and tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb said.

A landmark study by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) found last year that more than one in three Maldivians were offered bribes for their votes or witnessed vote buying in the March 2014 parliamentary polls.

It said vote buying in the Maldives had assumed “alarming proportions”.

Accusations also surrounded a visit by Ahmed Sulaiman, president of the elections commission, to Alifushi, with the MDP claiming he was involved in door-to-door campaigning for the PPM.

According to, the elections commission said Sulaiman was at Alifushi on an official visit and that they had no knowledge of wrongdoing.

During the campaigns, the two parties traded blows over the unfulfilled promise of a sewerage system for the island, with PPM representatives blaming Rasheed, the MP, who voted against the overall government budget in parliament.

Rasheed said, however, that it was down to the government to fulfil its promise of a sewerage system. “They should work according to their word,” he said.

Rasheed said he did not believe vote-rigging could have taken place on by-election day, as observers from both parties were present at polling stations.

PPM president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was president of the Maldives for 30 years until 2008, congratulated the PPM candidate via Twitter, saing: “Warm congratulations PPM candidate Aminath Ali on a resounding victory in Alifushi council by-election today.”

The councillor’s position on Alifushi became vacant when Abdul Latheef Abdul Raheem, also with the PPM, resigned.

PPM will be holding a firework display, its customary celebration, on Alifushi tonight.


Emergency water supplied to Alifushi bacteria infested, says council

The emergency water supplied to Alifushi island contains bacteria and dust, the island’s council has said.

Vice President of the council Ibrahim Shuaib said that, following a water shortage,  the island requested 185 tonnes of drinking water from the government – the capacity of the council’s water tanks.

After the island was  presented with 40 tonnes of water, it was subsequently found to be bacteria infested.

“After we received complaints about the water, we tested a sample from the health center here. They found that there were bacteria and dust in it. So we have asked not to use that water,” Shuaib said.

He said that complaints have officially been filed with the National Disaster Management Center (NDMC) and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

“The EPA asked to send an official letter – we sent that too. But we still haven’t got an answer. Some people are now using that water after boiling,” revealed Shuaib.

Speaking to Vnews NDMC denied the claims, saying that the water was produced at Dhuvaafaru water plant and that no complaints had been received from other islands that had received water from the same plant. Both the EPA and the NDMC are investigating the matter.

With a population of 2700, the council estimates there are approximately 1600 people currently residing on the island. According to the council, the island faces water shortages every year around this time.

Traditionally, Maldivians have depended on groundwater, supplemented by rainwater, for drinking and cleaning. However, the contamination of ground water following the tsunami, and the failure to harvest rainwater, means that water shortages during dry periods are increasingly common.

While every house in capital Malé city is supplied with desalinated water, there are no sustainable systems to supply water on most islands. Water shortages all around the country have become a regular occurrence in the past few years during the dry period – which falls between February and April.

According to the NDMC, during the dry seasons of 2009 and 2010, the Maldivian government supplied desalinated water to over 90 islands at a cost of Rf10 million (US$640,000).

Last year between 3 February and 25 April 2013, some 53 islands reported water shortages to the NDMC. Plans have been underway to find more sustainable solutions to the issue in the past few years.

Minister of State for Environment and Energy Abdul Matheen Mohamed has said that the government was emphasising integrated water management systems in order to make the best use of the resources currently available.

“Our policy is to use the available resources as much as possible,” said Matheen. “Just basically to reduce the water costs.”

Earlier this week he island of Gulhi, in Kaafu atoll, became the first place in the world to produce desalinated drinking water using waste heat from electricity generation.

The project – a joint venture between state electricity supplier STELCO and UK registered charity the Aquiva Foundation – can produce around 8000 litres of water for local consumption.

In January, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development chose the Maldives from amongst 80 applicants to receive concessionary loans worth US$6 million (MVR92 million) for a clean energy project which could produce up to 62 million litres of desalinated water per year.


15 year-old boy arrested for having sex with 14 year-old girl

Police have arrested a 15 year-old boy from the island of Alifushi in Raa Atoll on allegations that he had sex with a 14 year-old girl on the island.

Police said that the boy was arrested yesterday (5 October 2013) at about 1pm while he was on the island.

According to police the case was brought to their attention by a third individual.


Four Raa Atoll councillors sign with MDP

Fours councillors based in Raa Atoll have joined the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) during a signing ceremony held on the island of Alifushi yesterday (May 27), according to local media.

Among those reported to have signed for the party during the ceremony were Vice President of Alifushi Council Ibrahim Shuaib – formerly of the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP). Atoll Councillor Ibrahim Mahees, who previously represented the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), also joined the MDP yesterday, Sun Online has reported.

Vaadhoo councillor Ali Riyaz, formerly of President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP) and one time Adhaalath Party member Hussain Rashad of Rasgetheem Council also reportedly signed to the opposition party.

The four councillors signed to the MDP during a ceremony that coincided with a visit by the party’s presidential candidate, Mohamed Nasheed, Sun Online reported.