Maldives Police Service on Tuesday announced an investigation into recent comments made by the opposition coalition's presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu) about the police during a campaign stop.
In a press conference, Police spokesperson Ahmed Shifan declared that Ibu had made false statements regarding the police during his campaign address at Maalhendhoo, Noonu Atoll. Noting that the spread of misinformation constituted a criminal offence, Shifan revealed that the police have commenced an investigation into Ibu's comments and reported the case to relevant authorities as well.
In his address at Maalhendhoo, Ibu had cited a fisherman about an incident where a boat was sinking off the coast of Gallandhoo, Haa Alif Atoll. According to Ibu, the fisherman had said that when the boat owner reported the incident to the police seeking help, he was first asked which political party he supported. Upon responding that he would "vote for justice", the police had allegedly responded that there was no rescue speedboat available, resulting in the boat sinking.
Shifan condemned Ibu's narration as an unacceptable and saddening falsification to defame the police and skew the people's perspective of the police force and government.
Shedding light on the incident, Shifan revealed that the police station in Ihavandhoo, Haa Alif Atoll, had received reports of a boat sinking on August 14. Shifan stated that the police had sent its speedboat docked at Ihavandhoo and another boat to aid the sinking vessel, and had it towed back and floated.
Shifan urged against the spreading of false rumours to defame the police for personal gains. Asserting the force's trustworthiness and actions to uphold great responsibilities in service of the people, Shifan called on citizens to be wary of misleading talks and to verify the truth behind rumours.
While the police have announced the investigation into Ibu's comments, his spokesperson and Machangolhi North MP Mariya Ahmed Didi on Tuesday refuted that the presidential candidate had defamed the police.
Speaking to the press, Mariya declared that Ibu had not spread any misinformation to incite hatred towards the police amongst the public.
She stated that Ibu referred to certain occurrences because the police did not come clean to the public unless the issues were publicly addressed.
"Our candidate has no intention, has made no action [to defame the police]," she said.