Maldivians asked to report on possible graft of prior gov’t

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – The Maldives’ government has asked citizens to report information regarding allegations of corruption and abuse of power during the tenure of the strongman leader defeated in elections last year.

The request, in a statement from the president’s office yesterday, came a day after police questioned former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom over alleged illegal financial transactions for a third time.

The statement said information on cases of corruption and abuse of power within state institutions from January 1, 2012, to November 17, 2018, could be reported via written submission to the Presidential Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery. Yameen was president for most of that period. Submissions should be made before February 24.

The commission was established by new President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih when he assumed office in November, in keeping with his electoral pledge of a clean government and to investigate alleged misdeeds of Yameen’s administration. Solih defeated Yameen in elections in September.

Yameen’s tenure from 2013 to 2018 was marked with allegations of misrule, corruption and human rights violations.

Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom (C) surrounded by his body guards arrives to address his supporters in Male, Maldives. – AP

Police have previously said that they found transactions of big sums of money through accounts opened by Yameen over five years of his presidency and said accounts with nearly USD6.5 million in both US dollars and Maldivian currency had been frozen pending further investigations.

Police questioned Yameen over the weekend for a second time. After the interrogation, Yameen said police did not accuse him of any crime.

Yameen said police questioned him over cash received ahead of the September election and complaints that USD1 million linked to a financial scam allegedly were found in his account. He said the USD1 million allegedly linked to a USD79 million fraud had already been investigated and that he asked police to get the details from the Anti-Corruption Commission.

He said the money he received ahead of the election was deposited into his lawfully declared campaign accounts.

Yameen has insisted that police questioned him only over the investigation, but has not specified whether he was accused of any wrongdoing.