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Ex-Maldives Gas boss denies diverting funds for first lady’s mosque

Some MVR2.5 million worth of equipment was allegedly diverted.



The former managing director of the Maldives Gas has denied diverting funds to finance a welfare project of former first lady Fathimath Ibrahim.

Some MVR2.5 million (US$162,127) was spent on a mosque funded by the first lady in the capital’s suburb, the state-owed company’s new boss alleged, citing the findings of an internal audit. 

“The equipment purchased for the Thinadhoo gas plant project was diverted to the mosque site in Hulhumalé. We have evidence,” Maldives Gas managing director Shazail Siyam told Mihaaru on Tuesday.

Quotations for the mosque project and documents showed equipment was sent to the construction site, he added.

A manager suspected of involvement was suspended earlier this week. The Anti-Corruption Commission is also looking into alleged graft connected to the company.

But the former boss Abdulla Maumoon denied the allegations.

“Maldive Gas did not spend on the mosque. If it did, why would the mosque take more than two years to complete? The truth is that the mosque project was funded through Madam Fathimath Ibrahim’s money,” he told local media.

Maumoon – who was seen as a close associate of the first lady and a senior member of her campaign team – claimed well-wishers who want to remain anonymous also contributed by donating paint, praying mats and other items.

Built in commemoration of the first lady’s deceased mother, former president Abdulla Yameen opened the Masjidul Waalidain mosque in August 2018. The MVR4.5 million project took nearly three years to complete.

Along with other state-owed companies such as the Housing Development Corporation, Maldives Gas was also alleged to have funded Yameen’s re-election campaign.

Maumoon reportedly left the country with his family after the president’s heavy defeat in the September 23 polls.