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'No unlawful election expenses', says President's Office over USD1.5 mln deposit

02 October 2018, MVT 17:35
President Abdulla Yameen gestures at the PPM rally held on September 18, ahead of the Presidential Election 2018. PHOTO: AHMED NISHAATH/MIHAARU
02 October 2018, MVT 17:35

The President's Office on Tuesday declared that incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom did not commit any unlawful acts regarding election expenses, in response to reports of the president receiving MVR 22.5 million just ahead of the presidential election held on September 23.

The issue was reported by Doha-based media organisation Al Jazeera, which cited a document sent to the police by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), an independent agency of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA). According to the document, an installment of MVR 10 million and another of MVR 12.5 million were deposited to a private bank account under President Yameen's name in Maldives Islamic Bank, on September 5 and 10 respectively.

Local media Mihaaru cited sources that the money was deposited for the presidential election campaign, and that FIU had requested the police to investigate the matter, since candidates are to keep separate bank accounts for election-related expenses as per the law.

Responding to the reports, the President's Office's spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali told Mihaaru that the contents of the document did not implicate the president in making unlawful expenses. He claimed that MMA has thus withdrawn the case from the police.

According to Muaz, President Yameen contacted MMA's Governor Ahmed Naseer immediately after the media reports surfaced.

"MMA's governor confirmed that such a document was sent [to the police], but he stated that the contents of the letter did not include information of the president committing any unlawful acts. And so the case has been withdrawn [from the police]," said Muaz, revealing that President Yameen has requested Governor Naseer to look into the matter as the allegations against him could be defamatory.

However, MMA has not confirmed Muaz's claim that the case was withdrawn, while Governor Naseer declined to comment to the media as information of FIU investigations cannot be disclosed. FIU is the unit tasked with analysing information concerning money laundering activities from commercial banks and reporting suspicious activity to the police.

Muaz went on to assert that all of President Yameen's campaign expenditures had been handled in accordance with the law.

"As per the law, a special account was created to manage the president's election-related expenses. We assure the beloved people of Maldives that no deposits were made, from any foreign sources, to any account under the president's name."

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