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Fines waived for fishing vessels

The government has also waived traffic fines and released inmates ahead of the presidential election.



The government has decided to write off fines imposed over non-payment for engines and fishing vessels provided by the fisheries ministry with long-term payment plans.

The “compassionate” President Abdulla Yameen will offer boat owners an opportunity to settle the payments in instalments over one or two years, Fisheries Minister Dr Mohamed Shainee tweeted with a campaign hashtag Friday.

The presidential election is due to take place on September 23.

Earlier this month, the economic development ministry abolished the annual fee for vessels smaller than nine metres and waived accrued fines.

The announcement came a day after opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ pledged to solve difficulties faced by boat owners due to new fees and fines.

The opposition’s pledges are self-fulfilling, Ibu joked the next day.

Last month, the government was accused of trying to unfairly influence votes by waiving traffic fines and promising to free convicts. Traffic fines worth more than MVR7.8 million (MVR,506,255) have been written off and the prisons authority began releasing inmates to house arrest earlier this month.

Rules under the Clemency Act were changed so presidential pardons could be granted to prisoners who have not served half of their prison terms for drug offences.

Last Wednesday, the rules were changed again by the president’s office to make inmates who have pending criminal charges eligible for a pardon if more than a year has elapsed since the charges were raised.