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Government promises to improve asset declaration policy

Mariyam Malsa
12 January 2019, MVT 10:07
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Spokesperson of the President's Office Ibrahim Hood. PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Mariyam Malsa
12 January 2019, MVT 10:07

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's Spokesperson Ibrahim Hood, on Friday, revealed that numerous aspects of the government's new policy for declaring the assets of top officials need improvement.

Hood, who is also the Chief Communication Strategist at the President's Office, stated that the state faced several obstacles during the publication of financial statements since it was the first time in Maldivian history that leading members of an administration have revealed their assets.

Hood guaranteed that asset declaration would continue within a strong framework and that existing issues would be resolved.

President Solih, Vice President Faisal Naseem, cabinet of ministers and several other executives at the President's Office released their financial statements on Thursday. The move was made in line with pre-election pledges made to root out corruption and ensure transparent governance.

Despite public support for the declarations, several people have also criticized the policy denouncing it as superficial.

The Communications Director of Transparency Maldives (TM) Aiman Rasheed stated that the financial statements currently on the web pages of the President's Office failed to achieve their intended target of preventing corruption and that many factors needed to be rectified.

Aiman, who was a key figure pushing for the move highlighted that there was no way to prove the legitimacy of the financial statements. He noted that a government institution, such as the Auditor General, should be tasked with ensuring the validity of any financial statements issued.

According to the TM Communications Director, is likely that additional assets are registered under the names of spouses or children, adding that a government institution should be tasked with ascertaining whether the assets owned by such individuals were proportionate to their financial status.

The President's Spokesperson spoke regarding the legitimacy of the information declared, stating that each individual had stamped their fingerprint and signed the asset declaration form.

According to Hood, the asset declaration forms would be used as references in the event that any cases are filed. Hood also stated that relevant institutions had been consulted regarding the declarations as well.

The President's Spokesperson stated that while family-owned assets were taken into consideration in the financial declarations, this information could not be made public due to legal obstacles. He assured that discussions were underway to tackle the problem.

Hood assured that any existing concerns would be addressed before the government continues with its policy of annually issuing financial declarations of top government officials.

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