Editors' Picks Politics

Bringing the “Maldives – Saudi Arabia” corruption out from “under the carpet”

Corruption in Maldives remains a deeply entrenched, global concern. Another day, often brings another ballooning corruption scandal in Maldives. The investigations, conducted by the investigative journalist of Maldives Uprising, revealed that the schemes devised by corrupt actors in Maldives (including President Yameen himself and other PPM (Y) leaders and ministers) — such as procurement fraud, collusion, kickbacks and bribes.

King of Saudi Arabia Salman Bin Abdulaziz has booked Maldives resort (or resorts) and is expected to arrive in march . The king will be on an official visit followed by a private holiday. In October last year Maldives President Abdulla Yameen had an official visit to Saudi Arabia and invited the king to visit Maldives. King accepted the invitation, what is about to happen seems just that. The announcement came just weeks after controversial amendments to the Maldivian constitution were announced.

Several months back Maldives Finest learnt that king was interested in buying a Maldives atoll to develop a world class city for the wealthy people from around the world. That atoll has now being confirmed, it is Faafu Atoll, home to 5806 residents living on 5 different islands. There are total of 18 islands and several lagoons that could be reclaimed further. Thus, drastically expanding the size. After the amendments brought to the Tourism Act. Feydhoo Finolhu and 10 other Islands and a lagoon near Huvafenfushi Resort were included in the Government’s list to be sold without bid. The Maldives has sold Feydhoo Finolhu, the island in Kaafu atoll previously used for Maldives Police Service activities, for $ 4 million only .

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Saudi Arabia had given President Yaameen $27 million to bribe Maldives ruling party  parliamentarians before the foreign land ownership bill vote. Money was brought in on a private jet revealed one of our source on condition of anonymity. “Former Vice President and Fisheries Minister Dr. Mohamed Shainee went to collect the money from the airport. The money was carried in two different cars” revealed another anonymous source. The ratification of controversial amendments to the constitutionthatauthorizesforeigners who invest more than US$1 billion in a project to own freeholds in the Maldives.President’s announcementearliercontroversialamendments to the constitution had sparkedrumorsabout the sale of Maldives atoll to Saudi Arabiawhich were confirmed after the recent announcements.

Maldives foreign policy is driven by Saudi Arabia’s money. The Maldavians say the islands are being handed over “for a fistful of dollars, or in exchange for support for Government policies sanctioning murder, detentions, violations, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. The islands are for billions.”

Ever since Abdullah Yameen was elected as the President of the Maldives in November 2013, there has been quite a bit of corruption traffic between the heavenly archipelago and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Officials from each country are seen making frequent visits to the other. And, these are not vacation tours, at least not entirely. They are all about business and corruption, big business and big corruption.

The airport’s new wing is part of an ambitious plan the Maldives government had launched in 2014, The contract was deemed as a $800-million investment meant to boost the archipelago’s tourism sector. The contract for the  construction of a new passenger terminal for the Maldives international airport was finally awarded to the construction conglomerate Saudi Binladin Group – founded by Osama Bin Laden’s father – leads the corrupt Saudi investment front. Part of the Airport funding will come from the Saudi Fund for Development.

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Awarding the contract to the Binladin Group was controversial right from the word go. The same contract had previously been allotted to GMR a major Indian infrastructure company which received $1billion as compensation from the abrupt cancellation of valid contract by Maldives government.

In March 2016, Adam Shareef Umar, the Maldivian defence minister, travelled to Saudi Arabia to meet his counterpart, deputy crown prince Mohamed Bin Salman al-Saud, who pledged $50 million loan for a military housing project in Maldives.

The kingdom also came to First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim’s defence in July after she became embroiled in a “date-gate” controversy for distributing dates gifted by Saudi under the name of her charity organisation. The country’s embassy had issued a statement calling the first lady an “exemplary philanthropist”.

Saudi Arabia’s investment and financial aids comes at the cost of Maldives’ “Pride and Self-Respect”, and are often abused as an instrument of influence and soft power hold-up. IN May 2016, The Maldives was forced by its key financial backer Saudi Arabia, in cutting diplomatic ties with Iran.

The Maldives Government is expected to pay back some US$1.1billion, the IMF estimates. The time line of Loan from Saudi Arabia is hereby illustrated in tabular manner.

  • US$20 million for budget support  in 2015

  • US$150m ‘bailout loan’ to Maldives 2016

  • US$1million as grant aid to finance the feasibility study for a transshipment port in the Maldives’ atoll

  • US$100million to finance the expansion of the country’s main airport

  • US$50m for military housing project

  • US$80m loan for Hulhumalé development

All these loans on the country’s downspiral economy and Maldives sick and corrupt President Yameen planing to buy (as installment basis) Private Jet through yet further Saudi Arabia fundings .

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Related Articles :

Saudi Arabia’s growing role in the Maldives

Maldives sides with Saudis to cut ties with Iran

Saudi King Books Maldives Resort, Negotiates To Buy An Entire Atoll.

Journalists given cash “gifts” at Saudi Embassy event

Feydhoo Finolhu island sold to China firm for USD4 million

Source URL: Maldives Uprising

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