The Maldives president has defended his country’s right to do business with Saudi Arabia after his government was criticised for striking a development deal without public consultation.
On Sunday, Climate Home reported that president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and Saudi Arabia had agreed a massive development project would be placed on Faafu atoll.
The former president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed and foreign policy experts raised the prospect that the move was aimed at installing a permanent Saudi presence along that country’s vital oil trade routes to China.
On Tuesday, the president’s office issued a statement that said: “The Administration categorically rebuts allegations that the atoll has been ‘sold off’ to a foreign entity…
Few details of the government’s plans have been released to the public.
That scale of investment was welcomed by some Maldivians, while others decried the prospect of such a dominant Saudi influence. Protests were held on Faafu last week.
The Maldives government has a history of corruption surrounding land sales. Last year, Al Jazeera revealed a racket that saw cash from foreign land investors disappearing – some of it was traced to Yameen’s personal bank account.
Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked the country 35 out of 100 – below the global average.
“One of the issues with these kind of hidden deals is that it encourages corruption and through corruption you can subvert states,” said Nasheed.
Yameen’s official statement did not specifically address the lack of transparency.
Full details are available from the link below:
Source URL: Google News