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Focus Maldives

MDP Cries Foul Over Election Commission’s Removal Of MPs Eva Abdulla And Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

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In a deteriorating political climate in the Maldives, the Election Commission has struck off nearly half of the Maldivian Democratic Party’s members from its registry after the parliament approved a law requiring all political party members to submit their fingerprint records.

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Some 18,803 members were removed, reducing the main opposition party’s membership to 27,805 members.

The Election Commission on Thursday, effectively removed MDP MPs, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Eva Abdulla from the Party’s membership list. MP Ibu Solih is a founding member of the MDP, and is also the Party’s Parliamentary Group Leader. MP Ibu Solih is currently serving his fifth term in Parliament, whereas MP Eva Abdulla is serving her second.

The Election Commission, whose independence has been compromised since the appointment of individuals politically aligned to the Yameen Government, began their insidious meddling with Party membership lists in July 2014.

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MDP MP Eva Abdulla is the first women to be elected to the governing council of the Maldives first democratic party.

A fingerprinted form for political party membership was first introduced by a regulation in 2010, and by law in 2013. Then in July 2014, the elections commission gave all parties a six-month deadline to re-register all members whose fingerprints were not on file.

Other parties affected by the law include the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, the Jumhooree Party and the Adhaalath Party. The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives, which emerged as a breakaway faction of the DRP in 2011, will not be affected.

The PPM, with 37,633 members, is now the largest political party in the country.

The DRP lost nearly 10,000 members, and now has only 3,966 registered members. The JP’s membership was reduced by 3000, while some 1000 members were taken off the AP’s registry.

The JP now has 10,989 members, and the AP has 9,009.

The MDP and the DRP challenged the order at the civil court, arguing that the requirement cannot be applied retroactively, a view the attorney general has supported.

The case moved onto the High Court, which granted an injunction on the Election Commission’s order. In reaction to the injunction, the ruling party used its majority to circumvent the courts and passed an amendment to the Political Parties requiring all members to submit fingerprinted membership forms or be taken off the lists.

MPs Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Eva Abdulla have submitted fingerprinted forms twice to the Election Commission only to be repeatedly rejected. Their forms were submitted prior to the deadline and following the second submission they were not informed of the cause of rejection.

MDP’s International Spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Gafoor said, “it is slightly suspicious how keen the EC were to inform Parliament of the removal of MDP MP Ibu Solih and MP Eva Abdulla when they and the Parliament have repeatedly refused to acknowledge the MDP’s requests to remove MP Moosa Manik as a member of the MDP’s Parliamentary Group. The EC’s actions continue to obstruct peaceful political activity, making a mockery of our constitution and the hopes for a free and fair election.”


Although the PPM claims the law is necessary to prevent fraud, MDP MPs said it was aimed at reducing the party’s membership, and cutting off its state funding, as the number of members in a party determines the size of the annual grant it receives from the state budget.

The elections commission has meanwhile withheld funding for all political parties citing leadership vacuums and mismanagement by some parties.

This comes at a time when there is growing disillusionment in the institutions of the Maldives, including the independence of the Election Commission.

In July, former President of the Elections Commission, , had said that the people of the  have lost confidence in the institution and that there was no need of introducing in the island nation.

 

Gayoom & Nasheed, Together Or Not? PPM Says They Are Not!

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Mohamed Nasheed took the Maldives and rest of the world by surprise when he, in a high profile Skype interview to the foreign correspondents from London, said that he has got the old rival and ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on board to topple his half- brother Abdulla Yameen.

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But soon, his claims were refuted, directly and indirectly.

Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), which Gayoom heads, denied his claims and accused Nasheed of lying.

“… (Nasheed is) lying to bring President Maumoon into disrepute and to create discord among PPM members,” Abdul Aleem Adam, the PPM’s deputy secretary-general was quoted by Maldives Independent as saying.

And, Gayoom indirectly via a tweet also indicated his party’s claims and called Nasheed a liar, Focus Maldives understands.
Two days after Nasheed’s claims Gayoom said in his tweet that “Truth will be truth even if you say it once. A lie will be a lie even if you repeat it a thousand times.”


Nasheed, who was jailed more than 20 times in Gayoom’s regime for his criticism, said on September 12 that he was in agreement with the ex-strongman alias Gayoom to fight his half-brother and President Yameen.

The first democratically elected President refused to give any further details but expressed hope that they will work together to bring down Yameen in a “legitimate” way.

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“And so the position of the Maldives United Opposition, of which I am a member, is that for democracy to be restored in the Maldives it is essential that President Yameen be removed from power,” he told Colombo-based reporters via Skype from London on Tuesday.

“…He has lost the support of the Maldivian people, security services, international community and his own party. He has even lost the support of his own brother, former president Gayoom,” he was quoted by international news agency Reuters as saying.

Nasheed also claimed that he also was in talks with his faction of the ruling PPM “for a new political alignment” insisting on a “non-military” coup in the archipelago.

Calling “military-coup” illegal, the 49-year-old leader although said that he want security forces to cooperate with him as when the transition through “legal” and “constitutional” means happens.

“The opposition was expecting Gayoom to get a section of his party to withdraw support for Yameen late last month, but for some reason that did not happen,” said one western diplomatic source in Colombo, speaking on condition of anonymity, as quoted by AFP.
“It is not easy for the opposition to organise any agitation inside the country because all their leaders are either in jail or in exile.”

Nasheed is, however, looking to capitalise on the rift between the half-brothers that came out in open over the controversial tourism bill which Gayoom strongly opposed. Not just Yameen’s supporters defied Progressive Party of the Maldives’ leader whip to pass the bill but also rallied against his son Faris Maumoon Gayoom for not supporting the bill in the People’s Majlis.

Colombo Cauldron: Yameen’s Presidency Is Crumbling As MUO Goes After His Corruption & #TheOilLeaks Coming Soon

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In November 2013, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was elected the president of the Maldives following the alleged “televised coup” of the first democratically elected President Mohamed Nasheed. Two years and nine months into his rule, politically isolated Yameen now fears ouster by the opposition forces by led the Maldives United Opposition (MUO).

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As the MUO leaders reached Colombo on August 25, speculations over the ‘removal plot’ mounted through a report by BBC- which attributing to its sources- claimed that the “tiny island nation are looking to move against him within weeks.”

MUO’s poster boy and ex-President Nasheed was reportedly present in Colombo to take part in “an important sit-down” to analyse the political situation and strategise on crisis.

Jumping the gun, a government spokesman, whom the news agency did not name, confirmed the attempts of ‘legally’ overthrowing the government with a disclaimer that it would be a “clear breach of international norms.”

“As in every democracy it is the people, via the ballot, who will decide who will next take office,” said the spokesman as quoted by BBC.

And soon, a few loyal leaders of Yameen, spoke candidly about shielding the government from the expected coup d’état.

“We are keeping a close watch on the political landscape. The military and government offices are connected. The army will not allow a transfer of power,” he said in a televised meeting on the state broadcaster TVM two days after arresting four soldiers for allegedly conspiring to overthrow Yameen.

Earlier this month, eight soldiers were also detained on the similar charges, some also had their phone confiscated and are under investigation by MNDF.

COMING SOON! FOCUS MALDIVES’ EXCLUSIVE ON THE $800 MILLION OIL LEAKS

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The MNDF had earlier barred its soldiers from socialising or meeting with politicians, including ministers, and foreigners without permission to prevent feared attempts of toppling the government.

Ruling MP Ahmed Nihan also sending out a clear message to the opposition said, “Even if a gun is held to President Yameen’s head and he is ordered to sign a resignation letter, he will not sign it, even if he falls dead.”

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted Yameen’s spokesman Ibrahim Hussain Shihab confirming the political developments as well and alleging a conspiracy with the help of “external forces” which the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) refuted.

But, the party did verify that the opposition leaders were in Colombo to work out strategies to legally topple Yameen, according to AFP.

READ: FOCUS MALDIVES’ EXCLUSIVE ON THE OIL LEAKS- HOW POLITICIANS & BUREAUCRATS MASTERMINDED THE BIGGEST SCAM IN THE MALDIVES

The Oil Leaks 3


The hatch to oust Yameen that has been on MUO’s agenda since its formation in June, intensified parallely at a time when Yameen is under scanner once again for corruption in oil sales to Myanmar dating a decade ago.

The amount of corruption is $800 million.

Also accusing Yameen and his associates of receiving kickbacks from government owned islands, Nasheed told The New York Times, “President Yameen is very, very corrupt, and all the evidence is available. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Government rejected the allegations and called it ploy by “political rivals”. Yameen’s spokesman Sihab defend the government by saying that Yameen never sold oil to Myanmar during his tenure and dismissed receiving illegal payments via oil deals or land deals.

paradiseA documentary titled “Stealing Paradise” announced by Doha-based Al Jazeera that claims to reveal ‘mass corruption, theft and abuse of power in the Maldives’ also coincides with the opposition’s headway.

Downplaying the allegations and criticism, Yameen’s supporters accused MUO of jealousy and hailed him for his “successful development agenda” under #HealingParadise.

The supporters of Yameen even accused opposition of being close to the colonial powers as MUO’s top leadership- Nasheed along with former Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and MDP Chairman Ali Waheed- were granted asylum by the British government.

Yameen is already reeling under international pressure to step down for abuse of power, flouting human rights and stifling dissent during his regime.

He has also alienated himself from the top political leadership including the longest ruling dictator, half-brother and mentor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Most of his cabinet ministers – who now have representation in MUO- have been jailed or sacked, while some chose to resign due to his “dictatorial” attitude.

While former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and former Defence Minister Ahmed Nazim were jailed, former Vice President Ali Waheed was impeached; former Home Minister Umar Naseer and former Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon chose to resign.

Coming Soon! The Oil Leaks : How Politicians & Bureaucrats Masterminded Biggest Scam In Maldives

in Investigation/News/Politics by

In 2011, the biggest ever investigation into the 30-year-long dictatorship of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom blew the lid off an $800 million Oil Scam. And all the pointers led back to Gayoom’s younger half-brother, Abdulla Yameen – the present President of The Maldives.


The investigation, which was done by the Editor-In-Chief of FocusMaldives, Sumon K Chakrabarti and published in The Week magazine, was based on a confidential report that was submitted to the President’s Office by a UK-based finance consultancy called Grant Thornton, in September 2010. The previous March, then President Mohamed Nasheed – the first to be democratically elected in the Maldives had requested Grant Thornton to begin an investigation to trace alleged ‘hidden’ assets of Gayoom, his family members and associates. This followed on public allegations by the auditor-general, in 2008, that Gayoom had used government funds and national institutions for personal benefit during his years in power.

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The Singapore police too began an official criminal investigation into money laundering by Gayoom and his family members; today, the amounts being discussed range from $700 – $800 million. The Grant Thornton investigation was carried out mostly in Singapore, and the report, when it came out in September, was not just a serious indictment of President Yameen – but also a fascinating exploration of how autocracies often fall back on blood brother dictatorships to do business. In this case, that ‘brother’ was Burma.


MODUS OPERANDI


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The investigation was based on a confidential report that was submitted to the President’s Office by a UK-based finance consultancy called Grant Thornton

“Ghost ships” regularly left Singapore in the name of delivering oil to the Maldives – but never arrived here.’ He continued: ‘We are a tiny nation, and our oil consumption is very small. But the State Trading Organisation (Singapore) used to buy oil in bulk … and sell it either on the black market or to Myanmar.’

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PeekABoo: From The Leaked Documents. Recently, Yameen has also been accused of involvement in massive corruption and embezzlement of public money from resort sales

The State Trading Organisation (Singapore) was set up in 1997 as a subsidiary of the State Trading Organisation. The latter, run and largely owned by the Maldivian state, was established in 1964 with the sole aim of keeping the prices of essential commodities at a stable rate for citizens of the atolls, mainly by importing and trading food staples, fuel, lubricants and construction materials. Today, the majority of the STO’s activities, where the government currently owns around 92.3 percent, constitute the supply and sale of petroleum and aviation fuel. STO Singapore’s mandate was initially limited to purchasing diesel and related products on behalf of the Maldives, mostly sourcing from companies such as Shell Eastern, the Singapore Petroleum Company and Petronas, the Malaysian-state run firm. But soon STO Singapore was authorised to sell these products to other countries, particularly Burma. The majority of its sales thus went to either Male or Rangoon, with the exception of 2002, when the majority of revenue came from Malaysia, through forged invoices.

When the Grant Thornton investigators landed in the Maldives late last year, they were provided with three hard drives from the President’s Commission, a body set up by Nasheed’s government to investigate allegations of corruption and misappropriation of assets under the previous regime. These were copies of hard drives from the STO Singapore office as of 2009. And the web of corruption started unravelling.

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“Ghost ships” regularly left Singapore in the name of delivering oil to the Maldives – but never arrived here

A NEW CACHE OF DOCUMENTS


FocusMaldives has now accessed a massive cache of leaked documents from a highly-placed source within the present government in the Maldives, which indicate that the 2010 investigation on the Oil Scam was just the tip of the iceberg.

“These never before seen documents about the illegal sale of $800m of oil to the Burmese Junta back in the 1990-2000 expose in far more detail how STO and Mocom carried out their fraud,” says Chakrabarti.

The leaked cache of documents include bank statements, Telegraphic transfers or telex transfers (TT) and swift transfers, Bills of Landing, letters of indemnity, track records, voyage instructions and many more. Maldives 1

The massive leak of information comes at a time of growing opposition to Yameen, as a broad opposition coalition including his former VPs, defence ministers, political allies and even his half-brother – former dictator Gayoom – seeks to remove him from power.

Recently, Yameen has also been accused of involvement in massive corruption and embezzlement of public money from resort sales, as well as elaborately planning to launder $1.5 billion through the Maldives central bank.
As our journalists go through the documents, the new investigation will soon be unravelled in an investigative series titled- The Oil Leaks (Loot On The High Seas: How Politicians & Bureaucrats Masterminded The Biggest Scam In The Maldives) Oil Scam Feature-1

FocusMaldives has also accessed documents presented in the high court of Singapore, which has been kept under the wraps for many years now. Informed sources indicated that a lot of money has been spent since 2011 to keep these documents from the public eye.

Ex-Prez Gayoom Hits At Prez Yameen, Says Seeing Downfall In Modern Democracy

in Mas-Huni Brief by

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  • Downfall of democracy in Maldives
  • Ex-President Maumoon Gayoom says Maldives “seeing now is the downfall of his work to bring a modern democracy to the country”
  • He said some of the bills and amendments were passed by the government
  • That go against the constitution ratified in 2008
  • He signaled at criminalisation of defamation & public gathering in the country
  • Said freedom of expression is granted by Article 27 of the Constitution and the freedom of press granted by Article 28
  • And freedom of public gathering granted to every citizen under Article 32 of the Constitution

Prez Yameen On Unannounced Singapore Trip Again Amid Corruption Allegations

in Mas-Huni Brief by

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  • President Yameen is off to Singapore again
  • On an unannounced visit amid international pressure over corruption allegations
  • For depositing hard cash in deposit boxes in Singapore banks
  • Allegedly deposit boxes were opened in Yameen’s name, each for MVR 65,000/per month
  • Yameen frequently visits Singapore
  • Visited Singapore almost every week in April

Three Observations On Maldives By Willy Matunga That Did Not Go Well With Maldivians

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Expectations soared when Dr.Willy Matunga, former Chief Justice of Kenya, was appointed as the Special Envoy to the Maldives by the Commonwealth. He was given the duty to aid the process of constitutional and political transition of the country.

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Crippled by its political turmoil- with majority of leaders either in jail, or in asylum- Maldives had pinned its hope from Matunga to initiate the much needed “dialogue” between all the stakeholders.

Matunga who arrived here on Sunday began crucial meetings with top officials of the government and opposition to initiate a dialogue.

“The overarching mandate is to support a sustainable political dialogue process leading to a stronger climate of pluralism and inclusive elections in 2018,” Kenyan media quoted Matunga as saying.

But, on the 4th day of his visit to the Maldives, Matunga received flak for ignoring the crisis in the archipelago and tweeting about “clean water, malaria and presidential motorcade.”

He, then, added…

But, these tweets did not go well with the Maldivians who were expecting concrete outcomes from his visit and within minutes reactions started pouring in.

And, this is not the first time when Matunga seemed impressed by Maldives. He had, earlier, tweeted about having good time in the Maldives.

#MasHuni Brief: Three More Opposition Leaders Granted Asylum In UK

in Mas-Huni Brief by

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  • Britain is new home for Maldivian leaders
  • As, 3 more get political asylum after ex-President Mohamed Nasheed
  • That includes ex-VP & MUO head Jameel Ahmed
  • MDP chairperson Ali Waheed & deputy Jumhoory Party leader Ameen Ibrahim are the other two to secure asylum
  • The trio along with their families given asylum under the UN refugee agency policy
  • Nasheed was granted asylum in May during his medical leave to UK

#MasHuniBrief: Another History Created, Sprinter Afa Ismail Breaks National Record At Rio Olympics 2016

in Uncategorized by

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  • And, here’s another national record from Rio Olympics 2016
  • As Sprinter Afa Ismail Breaks National Record in women’s 200m dash
  • By completing the race in just 24.96 seconds
  • And it is not just Afa, but Hassan Saaid also made the country proud
  • By finishing first at the preliminaries of men’s 100 m race
  • And became the first Maldivian to do so
  • Flag bearer Aminath Shajan also broke national record in swimming
  • With Ahmed Sharaf who broke the national record at half marathon by record

Rio 2016: Maldives Fastest Sprinter Hassan Saaid Creates History At Olympics, Wins Heat

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Hassan Saaid, popularly known as Maldives’ fastest sprinter, has created history on Saturday in the “carnival” city Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

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He has become the first Maldivian to to win an Olympics heat and qualify for the next round.

Saaid, won first place in the second heat of the men’s 100m preliminaries in Rio Olympics, completing the race in 10:43 seconds.

And here’s the winning moment that every Maldivian wants to cease:

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All You Need To Know About Saaid


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Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@Saaidkalhe

Competed with Ussain Bolt

  • Saaid is Maldives’ fastest sprinter. He has broken the 100m National sprint record back in 2015 while competing with Ussain Bolt from Jamaica.

Gold At Olympics

  • He is the first Maldivian athlete to have a gold medal in his name in a multi sport Olympic event.

Silver At South Asian Games

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Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@Saaidkalhe
  • He made another record in February this year at the South Asian Games held in India by winning silver medal for the 100m sprint.
  • He reached to the finals of 100m athletic event in the South Asian Games. He secured the second position by finishing the race in just 10:45 seconds.

History At Indian Ocean Island Games

  • Saaid made history by winning gold medal in Indian Ocean Island Games under the category of Men’s 100m. He is the first Maldivian athlete to win a Gold in an International Athlete Competition.

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Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@Saaidkalhe

Other National Records

  • Saaid had also broken national 200 metre sprint record at the Jamaican Athletics Administrative Association Championship by finishing the race in just 20:81 seconds.
  • He has broken his own record at the ‘MVP Track and Field Meeting’ that was held in Jamaica in April. He completed the race in 10:30 seconds breaking his previous record of 10:41 seconds.
  • He even broke the 100m sprint record at a sports event in Jamaica.

Trains Under Ussain Bolt’s Coach

He is getting trained under sprinting coach Glen Mills at Jamaica’s High Performance Centre.

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