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First lady’s charity distributes dates for Ramadan

Sadaqat Foundation staff and ruling party lawmakers were handing out dates in Malé’s streets and near ferry terminals on Saturday



First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim’s charity foundation has started distributing dates ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Sadaqat Foundation staff and ruling party lawmakers were handing out the dates in Malé’s streets and near ferry terminals on Saturday. According to MP Yameen Rasheed, the dates are being distributed as in previous years with the “well wishes of the First Lady.”

The first lady has also been handing out gift packages with wheat flour, dates and canned tuna during door-to-door campaigning in the capital, VFP reported.

A Sadaqat official declined to comment on the source of the dates.

The Islamic ministry meanwhile told the press on Sunday that it has yet to receive the annual donation of dates from the Saudi government.

About 50 tonnes gifted by the Saudis are distributed through local councils every year ahead of the first day of Ramadan. The holy month is expected to begin on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

In January 2017, the anti-graft watchdog ruled out corruption in the distribution of dates gifted by Saudi Arabia under the name of the first lady’s charity. The Sadaqat Foundation was accused of misappropriating 500 boxes, an allegation it denied.

The first lady, popularly known as Madam Fathun, previously came under fire for distributing cash during visits to households in Malé and to chronically ill patients at the hospital.

Last week, the opposition-aligned Raajje TV reported that four lorries full of staple foodstuffs were seen entering Muleeage, the official presidential residence that has become the unofficial base for the first lady’s charity work.

The first couple resides in the former vice presidential residence Hilaaleege.

Unlike any of her predecessors, Madam Fathun is actively involved in politics. Since launching Yameen’s re-election campaign in January last year, she has overseen several campaign events and toured the atolls with teams of lawmakers and ministers.