Politics

Advance Vagu – Stealing The Nation

“To illuminate the future of Dhuvaafaru, it is okay for me to steal in advance” — President Yameen Abdul Qayoom

We all know President Yameen came stealing his way into the office. We are aware of the vast corruption scandals ensnaring his presidency. But are we surprised by his recent comment on campaign trail acknowledging it is okay to for him to steal in advance?

This man is not crazy, nor is he silly coming out with such statements. We must be wary of his true intentions. This is not the first time he made a comment in this regard. First, it was “the government cannot operate without corruption”. And followed by “it is okay to steal in advance”.

This is not only a confession of his corruption but an intention to normalize it. He is not only making theft and corruption the norm. He plans to make it the rule too.

How does one define an “Advance Vagu”? There is no simple meaning to it. Maybe it is the definition of a leader who keeps on stealing from the state; putting the country in vast debt for generations to come.

Yameen has been using Sovereign Guarantee as a tool to obtain high-interest commercial loans for large infrastructure projects. How does he make money off these loans? He only awards the projects to companies that can only agree put his “fair share” or the “devils cut” to the project BOQ hiding as an administration fee. As soon as the loan is arranged he gets his money in advance. Maybe that is what he would call “stealing in advance”.

Yameen’s government has already issued a number of Sovereign Guarantees to foreign firms. It has issued a sovereign guarantee for a US$370 million loan for the development of 7,000 housing units in Hulhumalé. The development of the housing units by China Construction Company Limited is financed by the Industrial Commercial Bank of China.

In November 2016, Turkish company Öztürk Group contracted to build 5,000 housing units in Hulhumalé was provided with a sovereign guarantee worth US$252.5 million

We are seeing so many similar projects like this. IGMH 25 story building, Sinamale’ Bridge, and many more across the Maldives. No one has any record of these deals been made in the name of development. The current Finance Act states that the government is not obligated to submit Sovereign Guarantees to the parliament for approval prior to being issued.

The dubious game projects are doing more harm than good to the country. The IMF and World Bank say major building projects have the capacity to transform the Maldivian economy but are concerned about the high debt being fueled by the infrastructure scale-up. Yameen continues to benefit from the woes of our economy through his constant corruption and “advance stealing” schemes.

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Source URL: Medium

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