Two opposition MPs were fined Saturday for dumping fake dollars featuring President Abdulla Yameen’s face outside his residence in protest over his alleged involvement in the Maldives’ biggest-ever corruption scandal.
The Environment Protection Agency fined MPs Eva Abdulla and Ahmed Mahloof with MVR100 (US$6.5) each for littering. The MPs were ordered to pay the fine within seven days.
Ibrahim Naeem of the EPA dismissed claims that the fine was politically motivated.
“We regularly fine people for littering. Even last Thursday, an official from a government ministry was fined for littering. People don’t hear about it because it’s not as widely covered by the media,” he said.
Eva and Mahloof were summoned to the police in mid-February of engaging in “violent or threatening behaviour” and creating “a hazardous, physically offensive, or seriously alarming condition by an act that serves no legitimate purpose.”
At the time, the MPs said their message to the president is that the opposition will not relent its protest over Yameen’s alleged involvement in the scandal.
Some US$80million was embezzled from tourism leases, according to an audit report.
Yameen, however, pins the blame on his former deputy Ahmed Adeeb, now detained on a charge of terrorism and corruption.
“What I want to say is, the corruption stops at Ahmed Adeeb. Other ministers are not complicit in this. And the President was not aware of it. We hear being said on the holhuashi, that others have benefitted from this. Who hasn’t benefitted from this money? Who hasn’t benefitted from this money? We need money to help each other,” Yameen said last week.
“And the receivers of charity, do they check of they got it justly? Who checks of the money they receive is legitimate? And so, Ahmed Adeeb has helped MPs. And there are businessmen who support my political activities, who are giving me various amounts of money to work for 2018 elections.
“So far, this money has been managed for me by Adeeb. I don’t know the details of these funds. However, along with the MMPRC corruption funds, he has helped people who have needed to do things – including MPs who have asked for help.
“But what I want to say is, the receiver, whether be President, or an MP, they are unaware that the money has been obtained via MMPRC, or illegally from the state treasury.”
Ex- Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim, meanwhile, has said that he informed Yameen of embezzlement from state coffers as early as 2014. But he was promptly removed from his job.