Losing PPM Majlis candidate asks for police intelligence to prove bribery

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Ibrahim ‘Hiyaaly’ Rasheed – recent runner-up in the Mid-Hithadhoo constituency seat – has today asked the High Court for police intelligence regarding the bribery allegations he has made.

Rasheed’s lawyer – PPM MP-elect Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ Waheed – is reported to have told the High Court that was unsure whether police intelligence had information regarding bribery involved in this specific poll, though he knew there was evidence of bribery in some races.

Rasheed lost the constituency seat to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Didi, who won just over 43 percent of the popular vote.

Wadde alleged that the other two candidates in the Mid-Hithadhoo contest had distributed money and other things as bribes to influence the election, and also that they had withheld the ID cards of constituents.

Wadde had submitted the names of 10 witnesses to prove his client’s allegations that there was bribery involved in the parliamentary elections.

Local media also reported that Ibrahim Mohamed Didi was involved in to the case today, with Didi’s lawyer reportedly telling the court that there were procedures to follow when issues arose regarding elections, before filing a lawsuit at the court.

The judge inquired as to whether Rasheed had filed the complaints with any other institution and his lawyer told the court that he had not.

Ibrahim Mohamed Didi won the Mid-Hithadhoo constituency seat with 1,099 votes. Rasheed got 898 votes, while independent candidate Hussain Solih got 554 votes.

Ibrahim Didi is still facing charges for the controversial military detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012, though the case has been stalled for over 12 months.

Didi was also the Malé area commander in a special operation conducted by the military ‘Operation Liberty Shield’ to control unrest in Male’ following the arrest of the judge.

On 3 April, the opposition MDP condemned alleged attempts by government-aligned parties to influence voting in the recently held parliamentary elections through coercion and threats.

“The MDP expresses concern and strongly condemns the actions of government-aligned political persons to buy votes, threaten people with losing their jobs, and instruct some voters to make a special marking on ballot papers – thereby compromising the confidentiality of votes cast,” the party said in a statement issued that day.

The MDP accused the ruling parties of threatening that individuals would lose their jobs, and requiring these people to specially mark their ballot paper in order for observers and party representatives to see how the vote was cast.

Following the conclusion of the election, Transparency Maldives stated that while it was well-administered and transparent, “wider issues of money politics threatens to hijack the democratic process”.

On March 27, The Adhaalath Party spokesperson Sheikh Ali Zahir told Minivan News that the party lost many seats it ought to have won in the Majlis elections due to bribery and undue influence from competing candidates on all sides.

“It was really sad that a lot of money transactions were involved in it, it was an obstacle to electing the most capable person to the parliament,’’ Zahir told Minivan News at the time.