President Mohamed Nasheed has sent letters to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs Ahmed Rasheed, Mohamed Musthafa and Shifaq Mufeeq, requesting they clarify corruption allegations made recently against the government.
According to the President’s Office, the Nasheed requested the MPs send details and evidence related to the corruption allegations as soon as possible, and urged their cooperation.
Mustafa told Minivan News that he had received the letter sent by the President and that he would share all the information he had, as requested by the president.
‘’These corruption allegations have become a national issue and the President is obliged to investigate it,’’ Mustafa said. ‘’I believe that when the president makes a request, we are obliged to share whatever information he wishes. There are many corruption allegations against senior officials of MDP and some serious allegations that we cannot share with the media right now,’’ he claimed.
“We will be sharing this information later,” he said, adding that he would reply to the president’s letter.
Several MDP MPs have recently alleged in parliament that there were corruption allegations in the government and that these should be investigated and stopped.
On November 21 during a debate in parliament MDP MP Shifag accused MDP Chairperson and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik of corruption.
He claimed that excavators sent by Moosa’s Heavy Load Company to the SAARC Summit preparations were not usable, but that Moosa was paid millions of rufiya in lease payments for the excavators that he was not entitled to receive.
MDP MP Ahmed Rasheed claimed that same day in parliament that there was corruption in the government to a level that was ”concerning and dangerous.”
Ahmed Rasheed was not in town and was not available for a comment, while Shifag was in a committee meeting and was unavailable for a comment.
Moosa also said he was in a meeting and was unable to comment.
Last week Transparency International revealed that the Maldives had risen slightly to rank 134 in the organisation’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
The country scored 2.5 on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean), placing it alongside Lebanon, Pakistan and Sierra Leone.
The score however is a mild improvement on 2010, when the Maldives was ranked 143th and below Zimbabwe. The Maldives still rated as having higher perceived corruption than many regional neighbours, including Sri Lanka (86), Bangladesh (120) and India (95).
Project Director of Transparency Maldives, Aiman Rasheed, warned that the ranking could not be compared year-to-year, especially in the Maldives where there were only a three sources used to determine the index (India has six).
“Corruption in the Maldives is grand corruption, unlike neighbouring countries where much of it is petty corruption,” Rasheed said. “In the Maldives there is corruption across the judiciary, parliament and members of the executive, all of it interlinked, and a systemic failure of the systems in place to address this. That why we score so low.”
Faced with such endemic and high-level corruption, it was “up to the people of the Maldives to demand better governance”, he said.