PPM MP Mahlouf to donate committee allowance

Galolhu Dhekunu MP and spokesperson for the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Ahmed Mahlouf has told local media of his intention to donate his parliamentary committee allowance to three civil society organisations.

“From October onwards, I plan to donate my committee allowance to Care Society, Tiny Hearts and Thalassaemia Society,” he told Sun Online.

He also announced that he would give a further MVR10,000 – earned from singing – to the Care Society.

Members of Parliament receive MVR20,000 (US$1,298) for committee work, plus MVR20,000 up front for general expenses, on top of their normal salaries of MVR42,500 (US$2,759).


Only two MMC members returned illegal allowances, after ACC investigation

The Maldives Media Council’s (MCC) annual audit report has revealed that only two of its members, Ahmed Abdulla and Ahmed Fazeel, have returned the MVR7,500 (US$478) living allowance adjudged to have been given illegally, reports local media.

The council’s other 13 member, despite being asked to do so, had not returned the allowance the report is said to have detailed.

In April 2011, council members decided not to receive the allowance any longer, after they were asked by Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to discontinue a second time.

The MMC then sent letters to council members asking them to return the amounts they had received as living allowances – by now a total of almost a million rufiya, in addition to their salaries.

Following the ACC’s decision to sue the MCC over these allowance, the Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) urged the council’s members to resign.

“This raise questions about the integrity of MMC which was established by the Parliament to regulate media,” read an MJA statement at the time.

“The MMC Act which was passed by the parliament clearly stipulates that no additional money other than wages shall be given to the council members for their work, unless it is approved by the Parliament,” it continued.


MDP will use majority to cut allowances granted to former President Gayoom, says Moosa

Maldivian Democratic Party (MD) Parliamentary Group Leader and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik has said that an MDP majority will cut allowances granted Maumoon Abdul Gayoom while the former president remains active in politics.

Moosa claimed that the opposition had used their majority to obstruct the government.

”All they did with their majority was increase the expenditure of the government to try an destabilise the economy, while granting allowances for Maumoon.” he said. ”The day that MDP has the full majority of 39 MPs in parliament, will be a day the judges and independent commissions will remember,” he said.

He recalled the day cabinet ministers were dismissed by the parliament after the opposition used its majority to refuse to approve the President’s ministerial appointments.

“That day MMA (Maldives Monetary Authority) Governor Fazeel Najeeb was far away clapping his hands, but I tell you now, when the parliament commences work it will the cabinet ministers who applaud.”

Moosa referred to the corruption allegations against the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and opposition coalition People’s Alliance (PA) MP Ahmed Nazim, claiming that ”Nazim cannot hide from the courts and sit in his chair anymore.”

Moosa said the MDP would give priority to passing the Criminal Procedure Bill, keeping the controversial Sunset Bill aside, and amend the Finance Bill.

Gayoom-faction MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that MDP’s decision to cut the allowances of the former President it would not only harm Gayoom, but President Mohamed Nasheed as well.

”The allowances are granted according to Article 128 of the constitution, so protection and allowances for former Presidents should be granted,” Nihan said. ”That is something given for the hard work Presidents have done for the country and citizens during their time, and we also hope that President Nasheed will remain in the country to serve the people after his administration is over.”

Nihan speculated that the MDP was luring opposition MPs to join the party, seeking a parliamentary majority.

”All Maldivians know that Moosa has personal grudges against Maumoon,” he said. ”It is really an illness that he has, and he needs to find a cure.”

He alleged that Moosa had illegally obtained Rf21 million through a contract with the Thilafushi Corporation – a matter currently being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) – and questioned why “nobody talks about it today.”

”Moosa was once arrested and found guilty of corruption and imprisoned during Maumoon’s administration, but he wasn’t arrested for praying or reciting salawat, he was arrested on corruption charges for attempting to bribe MPs,” Nihan claimed.