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President Yameen received USD1.5 mn in hard cash ahead of election: intl media

02 October 2018, MVT 16:51
President Abdulla Yameen speaks at the closing ceremony of PPM Congress. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
02 October 2018, MVT 16:51

Doha-based media organisation Al Jazeera has reported information received that incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom received a deposit of MVR 22.5 million (USD 1.5 million) in hard currency, just days before the presidential election on September 23.

Al Jazeera stated that their source was a document sent by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), an independent agency of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), to the then Acting Commissioner of Police Abdulla Nawaz on September 13. According to Al Jazeera, the authenticity of the document has been verified by two members of Maldives Police Service.

The document stated that two installments were deposited to a private bank account in the Islamic Bank of Maldives. The first installment was an amount of MVR 10 million made on September 5, while MVR 12.5 million was deposited on September 10 to the same account.

In a statement given to Al Jazeera, the former head of the Elections Commission (EC), Fuad Thaufeeq, highlighted that these financial transactions violated provisions in the Maldives Election Law which obligates candidates to keep separate bank accounts for election-related expenses. Fuad also went on to note that President Yameen still has the opportunity to declare information regarding the exact amount of donations and the identities of their donors. The Elections Law grants presidential candidates a 30-day period starting from the date of the election to provide this information.

Following the report on Al Jazeera, the president's spokesperson has stated that there were no unlawful expenses made by President Yameen for election purposes.

Meanwhile, there has been rumours of a senior official of FIU being terminated after the release of the document, while Deputy Commissioner of Police Abdulla Nawaz was dismissed Monday this week and appointed as a deputy minister at the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

While the FIU is tasked with analysing information concerning money laundering activities from commercial banks and reporting suspicious activity to the police, the law prohibits FIU from disclosing information regarding cases currently under investigation.

Al Jazeera had previously produced ‘Stealing Paradise’, a documentary regarding the colossal corruption case of Maldives Monetary and Public Relations Company (MMPRC) in which top government officials were implicated in the embezzlement of MVR 1.2 billion via the corporation.