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Nasheed, Gayoom deny $50k 'goodwill' payment for alliance

Mohamed Visham
08 September 2016, MVT 12:12
Former presidents Gayoom (L) and Nasheed. PHOTO/VNEWS
Mohamed Visham
08 September 2016, MVT 12:12

A documentary by Al Jazeera has revealed that jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed paid USD50,000 to his arch nemesis and predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in a bid to buy his support for the opposition alliance.

Both the former presidents have however denied the allegations.

Created by the Emmy and BAFTA winning Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, the documentary titled ‘Stealing Paradise’ contains leaked documents, text messages and recorded confessions that has blown the lid off corruption, thuggery and international money laundering in the island nation.

According to the Doha based broadcaster, Gayoom who is the half brother of incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom demanded USD100,000 from Nasheed earlier this year, as part of negotiations over an alliance to oust Yameen from office.

The Gayoom brothers have been locked in a bitter power struggle splitting the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in two.

The report also quoted sources who claimed that the elder Gayoom had demanded the money as a show of goodwill.

"Sources say Nasheed paid at least one installment of USD50,000, although he denies the allegation," Al Jazeera said.

Al Jazeera's documentary comes after Nasheed for the first time publicly admitted that Gayoom has joined the opposition led push to oust president Yameen

“We have always understood democracy to be the best path of development and a better life. We’ve always advocated that, and when we see Gayoom on the same page as us, it would be very foolhardy of us to turn around and go,” Nasheed told The India Express on Sunday from Colombo just before he left to Britain where he has been living in exile.

The former president had arrived in Sri Lanka in what has reportedly been to attend a series of sit-downs over an imminent move to oust Yameen from office.

Such an arrangement would comprise the Maldivian Democratic Party and other opposition parties, now banded together as the Maldivian United Opposition, along with ruling party dissidents led by Gayoom, Nasheed added.

Gayoom had not denied his successor's comments but PPM in a statement had said its leader would not "do anything to violate the constitution."

The documentary accuses top government officials including president Yameen of orchestrating the theft of millions in state funds through his former deputy Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

Faaris Maumoon (3rd L) pictured with his father Gayoom (2nd L) during a ceremony. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

Phone data from Adheeb, obtained by Al Jazeera, also shows Gayoom's two sons in receipt of large amounts of money from Adeeb, and a regular mixing of so-called "party funds" and money stolen from the state.

Gayoom himself writes to Adheeb on October 30, 2014, begging for money for "party funds".

"Dear NR Adeeb," he writes, "today is last month n we need funds for salaries etc. Can u pls help? Thank u."

The documentary had also claimed that the president's ministers and aides have plotted to launder up to USD1.5bn through the South Asian nation's central bank, with the help of secretive businessmen from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Gayoom's youngest son, Ghassan Maumoon who serves as a state minister in his uncle's government was implicated in the alleged scheme.

Neither Ghassan nor his lawmaker elder brother Faaris Maumoon were available for comment.

Maldives government have denied the allegations, labeling the documentary as biased and in pursuance of an already declared agenda against the government.

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