It has surfaced that Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Parliamentarian Ian Paisley of the United Kingdom, was given a holiday at a Maldivian resort after he advocated for the administration of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
According to BBC Spotlight, evidence suggests that the North Antrim MP visit was requested by Yameen's administration. The holiday was facilitated by Hussain Hilmy, a shareholder of Sunland Hotels Pvt Ltd.
Paisley, his wife and two children received a five-night stay in October and November 2016, following his controversial parliamentary visit to Maldives eight months prior.
MP Paisley stated that he partly paid for the holiday and that the rest was financed by a friend. He has been heavily criticized for refusing to reveal the identity of said friend.
Following his failure to declare the two family holidays he spent in Sri Lanka during 2013 in Westminsters' registrar of interests, he was suspended for 30 days from the House of Commons. Furthermore, DUP suspended his membership at the party while they conducted internal investigations into his conduct.
During his Presidency, Yameen was criticised by international organisations such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth for various human rights abuse cases. Paisley, however, appeared to have advocated against the economic sanctions proposed by then opposition and current ruling coalition.
Furthermore, Paisley visited the prison in which former President Mohamed Nasheed was detained at and described the standard of the condition as quite luxurious.
Sinn Féin, the largest nationalist party in the Northern Ireland Assembly, wrote to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone, to investigate the allegations.
Hilmy was detained on December 5, for issuing a bounced cheque. He previously served as Minister of Youth and Minister of Fisheries during the rule of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Sunland Hotels is a travel agency which owns and manages four luxury hotels across Maldives.