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Opposition files corruption cases against president, speaker and defence minister

The complaints concerned alleged misuse of state resources on private trips.



The opposition Progressive Congress Coalition on Tuesday filed complaints with the anti-corruption watchdog against President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi.

All three complaints relate to “misusing state resources” on person trips in breach of the law prohibiting corruption, lawyer Mohamed Shaheed told the press. “No one is blind to the fact that a record amount is being spent on travel and travel expenses have exceeded the budget,” he said.

President Solih is accused of using the official presidential speedboat during the parliamentary election campaign. Ahead of the polls in April, the president’s spokesman said the speedboat was used on the insistence of the Maldives National Defence Force for unspecified security reasons.

Speaker Mohamed Nasheed is accused of using parliament media staff during a recent trip to the southern atolls. Parliament’s Twitter account announced it as an official trip but Shaheed insisted it was a personal visit.

The complaint against Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi concerns a trip to Abu Dhabi in October. The former lawmaker took her daughter to a meeting with UAE’s interior minister Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Shaheed alleged.

“This even puts our national security risk. A defence minister is not allowed to involve a civilian, not even a family member, in a meeting with such an official to discuss the country’s national security matters,” he said.

Addressing the allegations last month, Mariya said the trip was not facilitated or funded by the government. But Shaheed insisted the meeting with Saif bin Zayed was an official meeting and noted its mention in the interior ministry website.

The opposition parties have submitted over 60 corruption complaints against the government, Shahid said. It is unclear whether the Anti-Corruption Commission has decided to launch probes against the president, speaker and defence minister.