MP Musthafa blames ‘Reeko’ Moosa over finance controller’s resignation

Finance Controller at the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ahmed Assad, resigned yesterday after attempts were made by MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik to exert undue influence over the senior government official, claims Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Musthafa.

In a text message circulated to several media outlets, Musthafa alleged that several “capable professionals and technocrats” were quitting the MDP government in protest of acting chairperson Moosa’s outsize influence and “corrupt dealings” for personal gain.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Musthafa claimed Moosa had asked Assad for Rf5 to 6 million (US$320,000-390,000) to complete a project awarded to Moosa’s company Heavy Load Maldives to construct the jetty off the island of Kumundhu in Shaviyani Atoll.

Assad was unavailable for comment today as his mobile phone was switched off.

“Assad refused to issue the money and he went into a quarrel with Moosa and Moosa attempted to use his position and authority to exert influence over him,” Musthafa alleged. “He also tried to influence Abdulla Ziyadh, civil engineer of Works Corporation and tried to collect money for a Heavy Load project before it was completed. They completed 20 percent of the work and asked him to pay for 70 percent of work.”

Ziyadh had resigned from his post at the Works Corporation under the Housing Ministry in the wake of the incident, Musthafa claimed.

“Moosa has also taken Rf4 million (US$260,000) worth of oil for credit from Fuel Supply Maldives (FSM) and tried to get more oil for credit without paying for the oil he purchased earlier,” he alleged.

Musthafa said he planned to submit an amendment to the MDP charter to ensure that a businessman could not hold the post of chairperson.

Responding to remarks made by Moosa in the local media that Musthafa was “using my name to gain fame for himself,” Musthafa said: “,I ‘Seafood Musthafa’, was more famous and a millionaire in this country when Moosa was riding a bicycle around Henveiru.”

Contacted for a comment today, MP Moosa Manik said he did not wish to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair said Assad had not divulged the reason for his decision to leave the government in his resignation letter.

“Unless he confirms the allegations, I would say that is just political speculation and theories,” said Zuhair, referring to Musthafa’s allegations.


President’s Office encouraging unprofessional journalism, claims MMC

The Maldives Media Council (MMC) has accused the President’s Office of discouraging journalists from following the council’s rulings and code of conduct.

The MMC’s claims came after Press Secretary for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair told news outlet Sun Online that the government did not support any action against journalists of the Sun Media Group, after three journalists conducted an investigation into illegal prostitution in the Maldives.

The Media Council declared the standard of the written articles were unprofessional and that the articles indicated that the journalists may have been engaged in sexual activities with the prostitutes, and that their style of writing encouraged the activity. It referred the matter to the Prosecutor General.

However, Zuhair told the paper that the government did not consider the articles to be inappropriate, or containing words that indicated that the journalists might have involved themselves in any criminal offences.

In a press release issued by the MMC following the remarks made by the Press Secretary, the MMC accused the President’s Office of obstructing the council’s efforts to establish a culture in which journalists worked within a code of conduct.

The council said the executive was speaking in such a way that implied it could influence the work of the council, which was irresponsible.

‘’It makes the public and the media lose confidence in the legal duty of the council to set the media in the right direction,’’ said the Media Council in the statement. ‘’The remarks made by the Press Secretary were made in a way that it encouraged such writings, and was said without showing any respect to the Islamic principles, laws and the beliefs of an Islamic society.’’

The council also noted that it has declared that the articles were inconsistent with the Media Code of Ethics and that the editorial management of Sun had already apologised over it.

After Sun Magazine published series of articles sharing their experience with prostitutes working at spas and salons in Male’, the MMC pulled the magazines from circulation and forwarded the case to the Prosecutor General to file criminal charges against the paper.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair was not responding at time of press.