PPM calls on Adhaalath Party members to take action against Sheikh Imran

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has called upon members and religious scholars of the Adhaalath Party (AP) to take action against the party’s president, Sheikh Imran Abdulla.

In a press statement yesterday, the PPM condemned Imran’s alleged efforts to “defame the government” and contended that he was acting “dictatorially” without consulting either the party’s members or its council of religious scholars.

“The party’s members and scholars are revealing that [Imran’s] efforts are being carried out dictatorially after gathering all of the party’s powers in his fist,” the press release stated.

Imran advocating on behalf of a person who has “openly ridiculed” Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) and insulted Islam was “unacceptable,” the statement added, referring to former President Mohamed Nasheed’s alleged anti-Islamic remarks.

While the AP was founded for the purpose of protecting Islamic values, the PPM argued that Imran’s actions were contrary to the party’s founding principles.

After officially withdrawing support for President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, the AP formed an alliance dubbed “Maldivians against brutality” with the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on March 17. The alliance was formed in the wake of the sentencing of former President Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism and the arrest and prosecution of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim on illegal weapons smuggling.

At the time, Imran said 80 percent of the party’s council members voted in favour of the decision to withdraw support for the government. The AP leader has since been leading nightly protests against the government.

On March 16, the Adhaalath Party’s council in a statement said it had decided to bring an “end to all this brutality within the boundaries of Islamic Sharia, the constitution and laws of the Maldives.”

The party accused the government of corruption, misusing the police and military, undoing separation of powers, undermining independent institutions, encouraging drug use, undue influence over the judiciary and illicit connections with gangs.

The PPM meanwhile reiterated its argument that the opposition alliance has not been able to substantiate claims of unlawful acts or anti-Islamic behaviour on the part of the government.

Such “uncivilised” and “slanderous” allegations were intended to undermine public interest and threaten order and security, the ruling party insisted.

The PPM called on AP members and religious scholars to stand up against Imran’s “irresponsible” actions and allegations.

“While a person in the post of the party’s president is working to muddy the party’s name without showing any legal evidence, [the PPM] believes that the party’s common members and scholars have a responsibility to take action against him,” the statement read.

Asked about the PPM statement at an opposition alliance press conference this afternoon, Imran declined to comment and said the AP would issue a response.

However, in a tweet last night, Imran suggested that the PPM statement was an “omen” indicating the success of the opposition protests.

In his speech at the protest last night, Imran also said President Abdulla Yameen’s statement denying the opposition’s allegations of police “framing” former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and rampant corruption in the government indicated progress was being achieved through the anti-government demonstrations.

President Yameen had not issued a statement despite a month of opposition protests, he said, “but today the president has started talking.”

“Tomorrow he will come out with you to these streets to sign a peace agreement,” he said.



Nasheed trial unjust, says Adhaalath President Imran

The terrorism trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed is unjust, the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) President Sheikh Imran Abdulla has said.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader Nasheed is being tried in the Criminal Court for allegedly ordering the arrest of the court’s Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012 while in office. If found guilty of the charge, Nasheed faces a jail term between 10 and 15 years.

At last night’s hearing the Criminal Court judges Abdulla Didi, Abdul Bari Yoosuf, and Sujau Usman rejected Nasheed’s witnesses, saying that they would not counter the state’s claims.

“Nasheed is not being tried fairly. Treating Nasheed fairly and justly is what we believe in,” Adhaalath president Imran told VTV.

On Sunday, the party withdrew its support for President Abdulla Yameen citing “increased violence and corruption” within the government. Although Adhaalath is yet to join the opposition Jumhooree Party (JP) and MDP coalition, they have said the party would be willing to sit down for discussions.

“The tension between [political rivals] should not result in the disregarding his [Nasheed’s] rights.”

Nasheed’s legal team refused to continue with his defence yesterday, claiming the court had not given them adequate time to prepare. The Criminal Court bench presiding over Nasheed’s trial dismissed his request to hire new lawyers stating they had already been given enough time.

At every opportunity Nasheed repeated his request for legal counsel of his choosing, and reiterated his belief that the trial was unjust and unlawful.

Judge Didi was with Judge Abdulla in his home when the military had arrested him. Judge Abdulla had called Judge Bari to inform him of the arrest shortly before he was arrested.

Previously Nasheed’s lawyers had requested that judges Bari and Abdulla Didi step down from the bench. But the Criminal Court bench had ruled they had no conflict of interest which would require them to retire from the case.

Along with Nasheed, former Chief of Defence force and current Defence Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel, ex-Malé area commander for the military MP Ibrahim Didi, ex-colonel Mohamed Ziyad and Nasheed’s Defence Minister Thalhath Kaleyfaanu also face terrorism charges regarding the detention of Judge Abdulla.


Adhaalath Party president meets with police

Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla has met with police at the their headquarters in Malé today, says media reports.

Imran told press that he had not been accused of any crime, while police have said the meeting was not in relation to any ongoing investigations.

Imran took to twitter following the dismissal of defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim yesterday, warning that the country was “drifting towards a storm”,

“If the direction is not changed wisely the country will be shattered,” read one post, while another posted the day before said: “The people who try and blame innocent people after commit heinous crimes will face a bitter end”.

Source: Sun Online, Vnews, Haveeru


Adhaalath Party objects to compulsory creative arts subject in new curriculum

The Adhaalath Party is working ceaselessly to ensure that music and dance are not taught as compulsory subjects with the introduction of the new education curriculum next year, Sheikh Imran Abdulla has declared.

“Adhaalath will take all necessary measures against this,” the religious conservative party’s president said on his Facebook page on Thursday (October 23).

Music and dance have reportedly been included in the new curriculum as part of a compulsory creative arts subject from pre-school to grade three.

Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed – a senior member of the Adhaalath Party – has also officially requested the education ministry to make the creative arts subject optional.

Asked about the issue at a press conference of the cabinet’s Social Council on Thursday (October 23), Education Minister Dr Aishath Shiham said the whole curriculum was based on Islamic values and codes of behaviour.

“There will not be anything that conflicts or differs with Islam anywhere in the curriculum,” she insisted.

Islamic Minister Dr Shaheem meanwhile criticised the media for reporting the issue in a way that prompts concern from the public.

Shaheem noted that Quran was included as a compulsory subject in the new curriculum and declared his support for efforts to “broaden Islamic education and Arabic language”.

“We value [the education ministry’s] efforts. Along with that, I believe that we can discuss together in a friendly manner to solve the [dispute over compulsory creative arts],” he said.

Shaheem added that he did not wish to comment further on the issue at present.

However, Shaheem told newspaper Haveeru last week that “hundreds of citizens” were concerned about plans to teach music and dance as compulsory subjects.

Shaheem also denied claims by State Minister for Education Adam Shareef’s that the cabinet has approved the new curriculum, which is currently being implemented in a few schools.

While the social council has discussed the curriculum, Shaheem said the issue has not been deliberated by the full cabinet.

He noted that former President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s administration had decided to make music and dance optional subjects.

Several religious NGOs have also objected to the creative arts subject, claiming that music is haram (prohibited) in Islam.

NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf put out a press statement last month describing the decision to make music and dance compulsory as an “insult to Islam”, contending that music is prohibited in Islam.

Shaheem meanwhile warned that forcing children of parents who consider music haram to study the subject could worsen extremism in society.

The education ministry should accept the Islamic ministry’s advice on the issue, he said, expressing confidence that President Abdulla Yameen would amicably resolve the dispute.


Gaza fund donations handed over to Qatar Red Crescent

A donation of MVR 29.4 million (US$1.9 million) to help Gaza has been handed over to the Qatar Red Crescent at an event held on Wednesday (August 27) at the Maldives Broadcasting Commission.

The unprecedented donation drive by Maldivians following the conflict in Gaza culminated in a 33 hour telethon aired across multiple participating broadcasters.

The cheque was received by Qatar Red Crescent President Dr Mohamed Bin Ghanim Al Madida.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, Help Gaza association’s Steering Commitee Chairman and MBC Chairman Ibrahim Umar Manik, and Gaza Fund Maldives representative Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla handed the check over on behalf of the Maldivian people.

The donation is intended to be used to supply food and water and to help Gaza recover from damage sustained after the Israeli Defense Force launched an offensive in retaliation to rocket fire from within the territory.


JP and PPM coalitions unite in condemnation of the Elections Commission

“The Supreme Court’s verdict very clearly says the elections commission planned and systematically attempted to commit electoral fraud,” said Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed last night.

Rasheed spoke during a joint press conference held by the three government-aligned parties still contesting in the presidential election.

Representatives of the Jumhooree Party (JP), the Adhaalath Party (AP), the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), and the Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA) also took turns to denounce the Elections Commission (EC).

“If the lawful punishment for these people is a jail sentence, then we will not hesitate to do that. There is no other way but resignation for them,” said JP Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed.

“I call on the police, the attorney general and the prosecutor general to investigate [EC Chair] Fuwad Thowfeek and his allies and file the case at court through the prosecutor general,” he continued.

The press conference came shortly before the EC revealed the schedule to be adopted for what will be the third attempt at completing the presidential election.

September’s poll – won by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed- was later annulled by the Supreme Court which ruled that the preparations of the EC had “broadly facilitated fraud, undue influence and corruption”.

The second attempt to hold the election on October 19 failed after police withdrew their logistical support, informing EC staff that they would be prevented from moving any election-related documents out of the commission’s premises.

The decision to delay the election brought consternation from the international community as well as renewed messages of support for the EC, which has received praise from over 1000 local and international observers for its conduct in the first round.

After consulting with the government and political parties, the EC yesterday announced the decision to hold the first round on November 9, and the run-off – if needed – on November 16.

“We, the two coalitions, remain steadfast”

The police’s decision to obstruct polls – decried by both the Police Integrity Commission and the Human Rights Commission of Maldives – came after the PPM/MDA and JP/AP/DQP candidates had refused to sign the voter registry as mandated in the court’s ruling.

The allied parties yesterday called for the EC to abide by the Supreme Court’s guidelines when holding the re-vote.

“There is only one choice. If some of the points in the guidelines are difficult for them, then there is no other way but to seek to change those points,” Ilham said.

Adhaalath President Sheikh Imran Abdulla called for the EC to resign if it could not act according to the court’s guidelines.

“We, the two coalitions, remain steadfast. God willing, there will be no election in the Maldives at this time unless it is an election that follows the SC guidelines.”

During its own press conference last night, the EC announced it would continue to follow the Supreme Court’s guidelines, but would seek to change them in the future.

“I hope the government considers these restrictions in the future and finds a solution. Otherwise, holding elections will become impossible and that affects the most fundamental [right] in a democracy,” said EC Chair Thowfeek.

Both MDA Deputy Leader Ahmed Amir and PPM MP Ahmed Mahloof expressed doubt that a free and fair election can be held as long as the EC members stay in place.

“Maldivian citizens know there is nothing we will not do for this nation. That we are not divided. This press conference shows we are together. God willing, we will remain like this,” Riyaz said yesterday.

Yesterday’s show of unity comes after relations between the parties and their candidates had appeared at a low ebb.

Following the October 8 decision to re-hold the first round of polling, initial suggestions that the parties might back a single candidate failed to result in consensus.

The PPM subsequently accused Gasim of being overly-influenced by MDP sympathisers within his party, whilst Gasim himself suggested that Yameen’s record during the autocratic rule of his half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom meant that he would never win the popular support of the people.


Adhaalath Party “curses” Nasheed, accuses MDP of increasing support through black magic

Religious conservative Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla has accused Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed of using black magic to garner support for the party.

“As a result of bringing in people from India, Sri Lanka, and various parts of the Maldives to perform black magic for [Nasheed], and then casting spells on food and feeding them to the masses, Nasheed has caused large numbers of people to become blind towards all his wrongdoings, and to imagine characteristics of being democratic and pro-development in him, and to be deluded into thinking they are in absolute support of him while in reality they are in a crazed state of enchantment and therefore run behind him,” Imran said, addressing the Jumhoree Coalition’s first major rally in the capital.

“Nasheed’s followers are anti-Islamic people like him and huge criminals. The rest are people under the influence of his black magic. Most people are bewitched and under black magic spells. This is the state of this country,” he said.

“Nasheed is doubtless an agent – one who has been rather well trained – sent in by enemies of Islam and our nationalism,” Imran continued. “A vote cast for Nasheed is an act which will facilitate the eradication of Islam from this country and will hurl us into a state of slavery.”

He furthermore alleged that during Nasheed’s time as President, he had “forced alcohol down the throats of Maldivians”, erased Islam, sold national assets and gave the profits to his “cronies”, and had himself “hidden away in his pockets US$16 million by giving away the airport to GMR”.

Moving away from his religion-based rhetoric, Sheikh Imran then spoke of Chinese superstitions as his justification of why people should not vote for Nasheed.

“In matters involving luck, the Chinese would never opt for number four,” he stated.

“If Nasheed approaches the 1 billion people of China as Candidate Number Four and asks for their vote, he will not be able to get a single vote,” he said.

Imran also spoke of how Nasheed is “spending billions on his campaign while he does not own any major assets or businesses in the country”. Imran then accused Nasheed of accepting funding for his campaigns from “foreign churches aiming to spread anti-Islam propaganda”.

Towards the end of his speech, Imran admitted that he “tends to levy a lot of criticism against Nasheed”, and said that this was not due to any personal grudges against the candidate.

“I have to speak against Nasheed because of the things he has done in these past several years; because of his anti-Islamic policies and anti-Islamic activities. Because I do not wish for a man like to him to become the head of state,” he continued to explain.

“Unlike other candidates, I must speak of Nasheed more openly as even the Quran instructs us to enlighten those who are ignorant and do not know any better.”

The religious conservative party’s leader also criticised the other two candidates contesting against Jumhooree Coalition candidate and businessman Gasim Ibrahim in the upcoming September 7 elections.

Referring to Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen, Imran said that Yameen had failed in engaging with the public or garnering any support for himself. He alleged that as a result, Yameen had ended up having to bring out his half-brother and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom to campaign for him and PPM instead.

Imran then spoke of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, alleging he had been unable to maintain the initial “wide coalition” that he had formed as a result of “having chosen the wrong running mate at the wrong time”.

“Although Waheed was leading the race with the largest support base when talk of presidential elections first began, he no longer has the guarantee that he can even manage to get a simple five percent of the votes this election,” Imran said.

In the same week, Adhaalath Party member and current Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed said that he had repeatedly performed prayers from the time Nasheed was elected President wishing for an end to his time in government, asking “Allah to curse Nasheed by setting dogs on him”.

“Every time I kneeled down in prayer, I repeatedly prayed a ‘dua’ performed by Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) against a man who had spit in his face,” Shaheem said, at a Jumhooree Coalition rally held on Mahibadhoo, stating that this was the first time he had prayed for the toppling of a government.

“The Prophet made this prayer against a man who spat on his face. What happened as a result is, the man was away somewhere on a trip. Then while he was asleep, a man-eating dog came and sniffed at people. Once the dog found this particular man, it attacked him and completely ripped him apart,” Shaheem stated.

Adhaalath Party had previously entered a coalition with Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaadh Party (GIP), which has appointed Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader Thasmeen Ali as Waheed’s running mate.

They later left the coalition and defected to Jumhooree Gulhun, backing resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim and his running mate, Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) leader Dr. Hassan Saeed.

The Jumhooree Coalition now consists of the Jumhooree Party, the Dhivehi Qaumee Party, Adhaalath Party and PPM’s former interim Deputy Leader Umar Naseer and his supporters.

Politicians use ‘religion’ as a tool to play with hearts: Nasheed

“As Islam is deeply embedded in the hearts of Maldivians, some politicians are bringing out religion as a political tool to try and tamper with our hearts,” Nasheed said, speaking at the MDP’s rally held in Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Nasheed stated that at different times during the political changes of the past years, various politicians, as well as people who present themselves as religious scholars, have used religion for the purpose of furthering political gain.

Nasheed stated that some political figures who present themselves as “religious scholars” are people who do no more than “slaughter camels or bind leather books”.

“The people of Maldives are now aware of all this. We have seen how the coup regime and the long 30 year regime before that is and has been maintained. The people have rolled up their sleeves and begun work to take the Maldives to a far better place,” Nasheed said.

Adhaalath has displayed nothing but hypocrisy for the past years: PPM MP Nihan

“Imran is obviously wrong about our presidential candidate and his campaign strategies,” PPM MP Ahmed Nihan, said in response to Imran’s criticisms of the party’s presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen.

“There are two political ideologies in Maldives: that of former President Nasheed, and of former President Maumoon. They are the champions of Maldivian democracy and reform,” Nihan said.

“Our party is open about the differences in opinion between PPM and MDP about the levels of contribution these two presidents have made to the democracy movement, but that doesn’t undermine the commendable work done by either of them. Who is Imran to talk about this? The Adhaalath party made no contribution whatsoever to either the reform movement or the efforts to establish democratic governance here,” Nihan retorted.

“In the past seven years, the Adhaalath Party has displayed nothing but record levels of hypocrisy. They are responsible for destroying the healthy competitive political spirit in the country by behaving like a commodity on sale, selling themselves to whichever party offers them a higher price. The PPM has never entered an alliance with them,” he continued.

“Leave aside Imran’s criticisms of Yameen – who is he to call Nasheed an anti-Islamic person? His party’s coalition, Jumhuri Gulhun, has set up a campaign station in my constituency Villimale’ on a plot of government land which has long since been walled away for the purpose of building a mosque. They have set up speakers and are playing campaign songs on a holy plot of land reserved to make a mosque, and still have the nerve to call others ‘laadheenee’ (irreligious)?” Nihan stated.

GIP Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza stated that Imran was making up excuses while he very well knew the truth of the matter.

“Sheikh Imran knows better than anyone else that the Adhaalath Party did not leave the GIP coalition due to any issues with Dr Waheed’s choice of running mate. They left because we were unable to give them as much money as they asked for their campaign activities,” Riza said.


ACC defends report on airport privatisation deal as Sheikh Imran insinuates bribery from GMR

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has issued a press statement defending its investigative report of the airport privatisation deal signed by the previous government, harshly condemning “false and misleading” remarks by politicians of government-aligned parties.

On June 17, the ACC released a 61-page investigative report concluding that there was no corruption in the awarding of a concession agreement to a consortium of Indian infrastructure giant GMR and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to develop and manage the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

The report was met with strong criticism and bribery allegations from parties in the government coalition.

Insisting that the government’s stand would not change as a result of the ACC findings, President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that “if there is a reasonable cause of doubt, this report can be contested by some parties.’

“Many people say here that the ACC Board is not an unbiased organisation. They say it is politically motivated,” he was quoted as saying.

Religious conservative Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran meanwhile described the report as “a slap in the people’s face” while President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Inthihaad Party (GIP) Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza accused ACC members of corruption.

In an appearance on pro-government private broadcaster DhiTV last night (June 23), Imran insinuated that ACC members accepted bribes from GMR offered through former Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay.

The ACC report was “a highly unprofessional, semi-technical and procedural review” that did not amount to either a proper investigation or an audit, Imran said, calling for “a full-fledged investigation.”

In November 2012, the current administration abruptly terminated the US$500 million contract with the GMR-led consortium, declared the concession agreement ‘void ab initio’ (invalid from the outset), and gave GMR seven days’ notice to leave the country.

The decision followed weeks of protest by a self-titled “National Movement” spearheaded by Sheikh Imran and senior government officials – born out of the unofficial December 23 coalition of eight political parties and an alliance of NGOs that rallied at a mass gathering to “defend Islam” in late 2011 – calling on the government to “reclaim” and nationalise the airport.

Last Friday, GMR filed a claim for US$1.4 billion in compensation from the Maldives at ongoing arbitration proceedings in Singapore over “wrongful termination” of the contract.

Meanwhile, former Attorney General Azima Shukoor, who headed the cabinet committee that advised termination of the contract, contended on DhiTV last week that the ACC report was “incomplete” as the commission had overlooked several key factors.

“Did they omit the factors deliberately or unknowingly or simply just overlooked them? But a lot of factors have been overlooked and omitted from the report. The state will suffer great losses because of it. Especially when the country is tied up in a judicial case,” she was quoted as saying by newspaper Haveeru.

ACC response

ACCIn its press release on Thursday (June 19), the ACC stated that its investigation was “not based on what politicians say at podiums and in the media.”

“Instead, the case was investigated based on relevant information collected for the investigation, documents and statements taken after questioning those involved in the case,” the ACC said, denying the allegations of undue influence on its members or staff.

The ACC statement added that the commission in concluding investigations adhered to article 25 of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act of 2008, and did not reach its conclusions “after considering the wishes of a particular politician.”

The commission noted that it had not responded to any political rhetoric targeting the ACC in the past, adding that all corruption investigations followed criminal justice procedures, the ACC Act and regulations under the law.

The statement explained that article 25(a)(2) of the Act required the commission to submit cases for prosecution if sufficient evidence to secure a conviction was gathered.

In the absence of evidence to prove corrupt dealings, article 25(a)(1) of the Act stipulates that the commission must declare that the case does not involve corruption.

The report made public last week contained information collected for the investigation, observations and the reasoning for reaching the conclusion “without any omissions or additions,” the ACC added.

“This is the first time that an investigative report of a case investigated by the commission has been made public like this,” the statement continued. “It was released that way to provide details of the case to the public as transparently as possible.”

The ACC further noted that in December 2012 the commission submitted a case to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) requesting criminal prosecution over the previous government’s decision to deduct a court-blocked Airport Development Charge (ADC) from concession fees owed to the state.

The ACC asked the PGO to seek reimbursement of MVR 353.8 million (US$22.9 million) from former MACL Chair Ibrahim ‘Bandhu’ Saleem and former Finance Minister Mohamed Shihab over the alleged misuse of authority the commission contended had led to significant financial losses for the state.

Bribery allegations

Responding to remarks in local media last week by an unnamed ACC member alleging that Imran attempted to influence the outcome of the investigation, the Adhaalath Party President admitted on DhiTV last night that he met commission members while the “National Movement” protests were ongoing.

Imran said he met ACC members after learning of efforts by GMR to bribe politicians through the former Indian High Commissioner Mulay.

Mulay also requested meetings with Imran himself on numerous occasions “through some of our ministers and even by directly calling our office,” he claimed.

Upon hearing of meetings between Mulay and ACC members, Imran said the leaders of the “National Movement” met commission members to “advise against accepting bribes.”

“[ACC members] said, ‘how can we go near that? we have sworn an oath,'” Imran said.

He claimed the ACC members told him that “the roots go deep” in the GMR deal and that former President Nasheed “completed the deal in Singapore.”

ACC members informed Imran that bribes from GMR was deposited to bank accounts in countries near Singapore, he claimed, while the commission members provided assurances that “everything would be made clear” once the investigative report was made public.

Imran said he would reveal further details of the “National Movement’s” meeting with ACC members if the commission responded to the allegations.

“In any case, we were working to liberate the airport on behalf of religion and the nation,” he said, adding that the government eventually decided to terminate the agreement without waiting for the ACC report.

As a result of pressure from the protests, he continued, the government was convinced it was not in the national interest to persist with the contract.

Imran also insinuated that the ACC would receive a portion of the US$1.4 billion compensation figure claimed by GMR.

State Minister for Home Affairs Abdulla Mohamed, who was part of the protests against GMR, meanwhile argued that the ACC releasing its report a few days before an arbitration hearing could not be “a coincidence.”

“Do we really have to comply with a court order from a Singaporean court?” he asked.

He contended that the Maldivian government would not have to compensate GMR despite a decision in favour of the consortium at the ongoing arbitration proceedings.

“Also, we can appeal such a judgment in Maldivian courts, can’t we? That’s not prohibited by Maldivian law. There’s no obstacle to that. So this is not something that the public should be concerned about at all,” he said.


Adhaalath Party head accused of attempting to influence ACC investigation into GMR

Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla attempted to influence the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC)’s investigation into alleged corruption in the previous government’s aborted airport privatisation deal, a commission member alleged to local media outlet CNM.

The ACC member, on condition of anonymity, reportedly alleged that the commission during its investigation came under heavy criticism from Sheikh Imran over its refusal to tailor the report to his liking.

The ACC’s findings, which were published last week, concluded that there was no corruption in the airport privatisation deal, days prior to GMR claiming US$1.4 billion in compensation for “wrongful termination” of its 25 year concession agreement.

“He met with me on two occasions. The first meeting happened just a day before they were to have a big night of protests. He requested that the ACC help the national movement’s efforts to drive GMR away and to speed up our investigation and conclude it in such a fashion that would assist their efforts,” CNM quoted the commission member as saying.

The second meeting took place a day before the national movement’s protests concluded, he claimed.

According to the unnamed commission member, Imran requested a five-minute meeting.

“On the second night he told me that he hoped the ACC would include at least one phrase that would be helpful to the national movement,” he said.

ACC President Hassan Luthfee had his phone switched off when contacted regarding the allegations today.

Sheikh Imran and national movement steering committee member and spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza were not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

Last Monday, the ACC ruled out corruption in the awarding of a concession agreement in June 2010 to a consortium of Indian infrastructure giant GMR and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhard (MAHB) to develop and manage INIA.

In a 61-page investigative report (Dhivehi), the ACC concluded that the bidding process was conducted fairly by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and that the GMR-MAHB consortium won the contract by proposing the highest net present value of the concession fee.

The ACC further concluded that the awarding of the contract did not contravene amendments brought to the Public Finance Act requiring parliamentary approval for such agreements.

The amendments were published in the government gazette after the concession agreement was signed, the ACC noted.

In December 2012, shortly after the protests led by Sheikh Imran Abdulla under the self-titled ‘national movement’ against GMR concluded, the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan abruptly terminated the agreement and gave GMR a seven day ultimatum to leave the country.

“The government has given a seven day notice to GMR to leave the airport. The agreement states that GMR should be given a 30 day notice but the government believes that since the contract is void, it need not be followed,” then-Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor said in a press conference announcing the decision.

Shukoor claimed that the government reached the decision after considering “technical, financial and economic” issues surrounding the agreement.


Responding to the ACC report in local media, Sheikh Imran Abdulla described the findings as a “slap in the peoples’ face.”

He claimed that the public now resented the ACC due to its findings and that the commission had lost credibility as a result of the report.

Imran contended that the report would facilitate the return of GMR should the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) win the September presidential election.

Responding to the ACC’s findings, the government of President Waheed insisted that the report would have no impact on its legal position to declare the GMR concession agreement void, contending that President Waheed’s decision had nothing to do with corruption allegations levelled by “some people”.

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News following the release of the report that the contract was declared void from the beginning due to the negative impact on state finances in 2012.

“Back before the government took back control of the airport from GMR, the reason we gave was that the deal was bleeding the country’s economy. We were paying GMR to keep them here,” he told Minivan News at the time.

Masood said that despite “speculation from some people” concerning corruption by the former administration in signing the deal, the present government was not responsible for filing a case with the ACC.

He added that the government’s concerns over the deal had been in relation to the imposition of a US$25 Airport Development Charge (ADC) by GMR that was blocked by the Civil Court in 2011 after the then-opposition DQP filed a case on the matter.

The DQP, now part of President Waheed’s coalition government, attempted to block payment of the charge on the grounds that it was effectively a tax not approved by parliament.

In response, then MDP government agreed to deduct the ADC from the concession fees payable, while GMR later offered to exempt Maldives nationals from paying the ADC as it moved to appeal the verdict.

However, former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned under controversial circumstances on February 7, 2012 amidst a violent mutiny by elements of the police and military before the Civil Court verdict was appealed at the High Court.

Consequently, in the first quarter of 2012, Dr Waheed’s government received US$525,355 of an expected US$8.7 million, after the deduction of the ADC. That was followed by a US$1.5 million bill for the second quarter, after the ADC payable eclipsed the revenue due the government.