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MVR 4.1 mln from State Budget spent on President Solih's US state trip

Mariyam Malsa
24 January 2020, MVT 09:10
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih delivering a speech. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED
Mariyam Malsa
24 January 2020, MVT 09:10

MVR 4.1 million from the state budget was spent on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's 2019 state trip to the United States, to participate in the United Nations General Assembly.

Despite initially refusing to divulge the expense details in response to a request lodged by a citizen under the right to information, the figures were released after the matter was brought to Information Commissioner Hussain Fiyaz Moosa.

As per the released details, more than MVR 2 million was spent on only plane tickets for the high-level government officials that accompanied President Solih. The delegation's accommodation and meals cost a further MVR 1.8 million while over MVR 141,000 was noted as 'pocket money'.

Additionally, the allocation for incidental expenses exceeded MVR 98,000 and more than MVR 6,100 was paid as excess baggage fees.

An amount exceeding MVR 12,000 was also spent on travel expenses to Sri Lanka to acquire a visa for a student that participated in the state trip.

Rumours at the time alleged that over MVR 6 million was spent on the trip which supposedly included 30 officials.

However, the spokesperson for the President's Office, Ibrahim Hood had denied that a MVR 6 million figure was spent and asserted that not even 15 people participated in the trip.

President Solih's delegation on the US trip included Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Spokesperson Hood, President's Secretary Fathimath Mohamed Solih and Secretary Aminath Shauna.

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