Maldives police said Tuesday the opposition’s presidential candidate was being investigated for “deliberately telling lies about the police.”
Police spokesman Ahmed Shifan told the press that Ibrahim Mohamed Solih – popularly known as Ibu – had lied during a campaign trip to Noonu atoll on Monday.
The presidential hopeful had lied “on live TV and in front of Maalhendhoo people” when he said police had asked a man’s political affiliation while his boat was sinking.
“In a speech Ibrahim Mohamed Solih gave at N. Maalhendhoo he said a boat crossing Gallandhoo Kandu started sinking and when that person (on the boat) reported the matter to the police, police said they could only help if he supported a certain someone,” said Shifan.
“This is a very sad thing. We, the police, are very concerned. Deliberately spreading lies about the police is certainly a big crime.”
Shifan named the wrong island when talking about the speech. Ibu had made the remarks in Henbadhoo, not Maalhendhoo.
Shifan said police would not accept anyone “deliberately talking like this to create conflict and change the public’s view towards the police and the state.
“When we got this information, we checked if anything like this (boat sinking) happened. We found that such a matter was reported to police on August 14.”
The police station in Haa Alif Ihavandhoo, together with two other vessels, towed the sinking boat to Ihavandhoo and police helped to bail it out.
“Therefore, police believe that Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said this with the intention of twisting the truth and reality of this matter. Police will not step away if a citizen is in such a situation.”
Shifan said “police will file complaints to all relevant authorities and investigate this matter.”
– ‘No such intention’ –
Ibu’s campaign spokeswoman Mariya Ahmed Didi responded to the allegations at a press conference. She denied Ibu was creating hatred towards police.
“No, our candidate has no such intention,” she said. “When something like this is talked about on a stage, it’s a chance for the police to tell the public what happened.
“I also want to mention, after the speedboat explosion, President Yameen addressed the public and said the police was a corrupt institution. The most disreputable thing for police is if the country’s president comes out and says the police are corrupt. So, we want the police to tell us if President Yameen was investigated for saying this to the public, and if he said this deliberately or if he lied to us.”
A video shows Ibu speaking to people in Henbadhoo.
“In every island when we visit and ask: ‘What do you want?’ The answer is: ‘Enforce justice, enforce equality.’
“They say: ‘Give government services without prejudice to (my) political party or (party) colour. This is not how it is now. When I go to a government office now, the first thing they ask is what party are you from.’
I will share something someone told me when i visited an island two, three days ago.
“He said: ‘I was crossing Gallandhoo Kandu on my dhoni (boat). My dhoni started sinking because of the rough sea. When I called the police, the water was up to my chest. I told them: my dhoni is sinking, please help me. After a while I got another call. They asked: Do you support Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for president? I said my dhoni is sinking, the water is up to my neck, I don’t want to talk about this right now, I will vote for justice. After a while they called and said we can’t send a speedboat right now, we will send one when it’s arranged. My dhoni sank a while later.’
“This is what we are talking about,” said Ibu. “This is injustice. This is what happens when you support a certain colour, a certain group. We are out to solve this. This is how someone lost their livelihood. This is not how the government should give services. People share many stories, many experiences like this.”
Photo of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Henbadhoo from MDP Secretariat