Majlis approves diplomatic postings to UN and Europe

Majlis approves diplomatic postings to UN and Europe
June 28 16:27 2016

The People’s Majlis approved today President Abdulla Yameen’s nominees for the new Maldivian permanent representative to the UN and non-resident ambassador to the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The appointment of Foreign Secretary Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed as the new permanent representative to UN as well as Maldives ambassador to the United States and non-resident ambassador to Canada was endorsed with 57 votes in favour and one abstention.

Ahmed Shiaan was approved unanimously as non-resident ambassador to Netherlands and Luxembourg. Shiaan is also Maldives high commissioner to the UK and ambassador to the European Union.

The opposition coalition has meanwhile alleged that the president nominated Naseer for the posting in New York to allow him to flee the country with his wife, Dr Azeema Adam, governor of the central bank.

The governor is accused of involvement in money laundering and facilitating the theft of nearly US$80 million from state coffers. She has denied the allegations.

“I do not intend to flee, and I do not intend to move from the Maldives,” she said in an interview to pro-government news site Avas last week. Even if Naseer is appointed as ambassador, they would only leave the country next year, she added.

Naseer also dismissed the opposition’s allegation that the couple has been offered an opportunity to leave the Maldives, at a press conference last week.

Independent MP Ahmed Mahloof alleged last week that that the Maldives Monetary Authority had alerted the president to the theft of resort lease payments.

“The Financial Intelligence Unit at the MMA is supposed to look into the matter. From what we know, they had received these alerts [about money laundering],” he said.

“But when MMA’s governor brought this issue up, President Yameen asked them not to bother about the transactions of his account and those of his close associates.”

A spokesman for the MMA, however, dismissed the claim: “The governor and the MMA never received any instructions to halt investigations against President Yameen and his close associates.”

Yameen has also dismissed allegations of his involvement in the corruption scandal.

Anti-money laundering laws require the FIU to look into unusually large transactions and all unusual patterns of transactions. But the theft went unreported until former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s arrest last October on suspicion of plotting to assassinate Yameen.

Adeeb was convicted of graft last Friday and sentenced to eight years in prison over the theft of US$5 million paid by Kuredu Holdings for the island of Maabinhuraa in Lhaviyani Atoll.

The case is just one of more than 50 cases of graft against Adeeb and the former managing director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation.