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Transparency International today announced the candidates short-listed for the Anti-Corruption Award (in alphabetical order):

  • The Carwash Operation (Lava Jato), led by the Carwash Task Force, began as a local money-laundering investigation and has grown into what is believed to be the largest investigation of money laundering and corruption in Brazil’s history;
  • Can Dündar, ex-Editor-in-Chief and Erdem Gül, Bureau Chief of the Ankara bureau of the Cumhuriyet Daily Newspaper, Turkey, have investigated and published stories about the Turkish Government’s conspiracy to allegedly supply arms and ammunition to jihadist forces in Syria under the cover of medical supplies;
  • The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of 185 reporters in more than 65 countries. Their reporters investigated the Panama-based Law Firm Mossack Fonseca and the many leaked financial and legal records that exposed a system that enables crime, corruption and wrongdoing using secretive offshore companies; and
  • Gasim Abdul Kareem, manager at the Bank of Maldives’ Nilandhoo branch and whistleblower, was arrested on 18 February 2016 on charges of unlawful acquisition and disclosure of information that related to the sale of islands. His disclosure showed that money that should have gone to the public purse allegedly ended up in private bank accounts.  He faces sentencing on 15 November.

Launched in 2000 as the Transparency International Integrity Award and renamed this year, the Anti-Corruption Award honours remarkable individuals and organisations worldwide, including journalists, public prosecutors, government officials, and civil society leaders who expose and fight corruption.

Transparency International asked the public to nominate their anti-corruption heroes and received 580 nominations for 136 individuals. All nominations were carefully analysed and discussed by the Anti-Corruption Award committee. All short-listed candidates are a source of inspiration to the anti-corruption movement because their actions echo a common message that corruption can be challenged.

The winner will be announced on 3 December at the Anti-Corruption Award ceremony during the International Anti-Corruption Conference, Panama City.

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Transparency International and Transparency Maldives call on the Prosecutor General of the Maldives to stop the process of sentencing Gasim Abdul Kareem, the whistleblower who disclosed customer information that revealed details related to a multi-million dollar corruption scandal in the Maldives. The sentencing is set for 15 November.

The case should be dismissed because the information disclosed is not only in the public interest but such disclosures are protected under the Maldives Banking Act. It relates to money that should have gone to the state but was allegedly siphoned off into private accounts.

Whistleblowers play a critical role in exposing corruption and other wrongdoings. They should not be subjected to any form of retaliation as a result of exposing wrongdoings or corrupt behaviour.

On 4 September Transparency International and Transparency Maldives issued the following statement when Kareem was in court:

“Kareem is a man who has taken action against what he believed to be a corrupt practice. This behaviour should be praised not punished. If money that should be used to benefit the people of the Maldives – to fund public services, for example –  is being siphoned off to fund the luxury lifestyle of the corrupt, the people have a right to know,” said Cobus de Swardt, managing director of Transparency International. “The prosecutor general should dismiss this case. Kareem’s actions deserve admiration and he is entitled to protection, not prosecution.”

“This is a test case for the Maldives and its whistleblower protection laws. The questionable financial transactions revealed from Kareem’s actions should have raised alarm bells a long time ago and yet no one had the courage to do what Kareem did. Instead of encouraging whistleblowing, Kareem’s persecution simply sends a signal to others who witness corruption that speaking out has severe consequences,” said Mariyam Shiuna, Executive Director of Transparency Maldives.

Under Section 44 of the Maldives Banking Act “actions taken in good faith in the course of the implementation of measure for the prevention of corruption and countering money laundering and financing of terrorism pursuant to laws or regulations dealing with such matters” cannot be considered unlawful.

Kareem was arrested on 18 February. He was held without a charge for over 4 months, and his detention extended 14 times until 30 June 2016 when he was released under house arrest.

The case is linked to a complex multi-million dollar grand corruption scandal that has involved the selling and leasing of islands and lagoons for tourism and is linked to former and current public officials.

On 1 September the president of the New York City Bar John S. Kiernan wrote to the prosecutor general on Kareem’s behalf pointing out the protections that whistleblowers are entitled to protection under law in the Maldives.

Press contact(s):

Press Office, Berlin
T: +49 30 34 38 20 666
E: press@transparency.org
M: +44 7432166622
In Male
Ahid Rasheed
T: +960 3304017
E: ahid.rasheed@transparencymaldives.org
M: +960 9741443

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Terms of Reference:

Report Editor for the Anti-Corruption Agency Strengthening Initiative Report on Maldives

Transparency Maldives is seeking the services of a Report Editor the for Anti-Corruption Agency Strengthening Initiative Report.

View/Download TOR here

 

Position title: Report Editor

Expected period of commitment: 1 Week

Application deadline: 04.00pm, 6th November 2016

Location: Male’, Maldives

 

  1. Organization Background

 

Transparency Maldives is a non-partisan organization that endeavors to be a constructive force in society by promoting collaboration and discussion on corruption, transparency and accountability. Transparency Maldives seeks to engage with stakeholders from all sectors (government, business, politics and civil society, among others) to raise awareness of corruption’s detrimental effects on development and society, improve transparency and accountability in governance, and eliminate corruption from the daily lives of people.

 

Transparency Maldives received formal government registration in 2007, and is the National Contact of Transparency International (TI) in the Maldives.

 

  1. Background to the assignment

 

A strong Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is a powerful asset in the fight against corruption. When they are independent of the government and empowered to investigate allegations, they have the potential to hold even the most powerful people in society to account.

Recognizing the potential of ACAs in combating corruption Transparency International has recently launched the ACA Strengthening (ACA) Initiative, the purpose of which is to undertake assessments of ACAs throughout South Asia.

Research Teams of each National Chapter will be responsible for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the ACA in their relevant country prior to publishing those findings in a comprehensive written assessment which will also include recommendations addressing perceived performance gaps; this will serve as a prelude to media engagement and stakeholder consultations to support the institution to become a more effective Anti-Corruption Agency.

 

 

 

  1. Purpose of the assignment:

 

To review and edit the complete draft of the Anti-Corruption Agency Strengthening Initiative report.

 

  1. Deliverables:

 

To produce a thoroughly revised and edited draft of the ACA SI report to a satisfactory quality. In addition to correcting for any syntactical errors the editor is also expected to rephrase where necessary to ensure narrative consistency, clarity of prose and continuity of argument.

 

  1. Timeline: The editor is expected to complete the work within seven days of commencing work.

 

  1. Reporting procedure: The editor will report to the Research-Coordinator of the Anti-Corruption Agency Strengthening Initiative, Mimrah Abdul Ghafoor (Mimrah.Abdulghafoor@TransparencyMaldives.org) for any inquiries.

 

 

Required Competencies

 

  • Minimum masters degree in Journalism/Communications/International Relations/Sociology or related field
  • Minimum 3 years experience in work involving writing and editing
  • Excellent command of the English Language
  • Ability to quickly analyze and evaluate complex information

 

Closing date for applications: Before 04.00pm, Sunday, 6th November 2016.

 

Application and selection procedures: Interested applicants should submit an email to Mimrah Abdul Ghafoor (mimrah.abdulghafoor@transparencymaldives.org). The subject line must read “ACA SI Editor”. The content of the application should not be longer than 5 pages and must include the following:

 

  • A summary of relevant experience (attach a brief CV, providing evidence that you are qualified to undertake this assignment).
  • Portfolio/examples of similar assignments that you have undertaken (two to three), preferably in the Maldives, over the past 3-5 years.
  • Proposed Charges.

 

Applications must be in English. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews.

 

The contract will be awarded on a lump sum/fixed cost basis. The application should state the bid amount (in MVR) for undertaking the work. Transparency Maldives retains the right to reject any or all of the applications and/or to enter into additional negotiations with one or more of the tendering parties to help define the exact scope of the work and deliverables to be undertaken.

 

 

 

 

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Transparency Maldives is seeking the services of a Graphics Designer  to design and develop layout for Anti-Corruption Agency Strengthening Initiative Report.

View/Download TOR here

Position title: Graphics Designer

Expected period of commitment: 3 Weeks

Application deadline: 04.00pm, 16th November 2016

Location: Male’, Maldives

 

1. Organization Background

Transparency Maldives is a non-partisan organization that endeavors to be a constructive force in society by promoting collaboration and discussion on corruption, transparency and accountability. Transparency Maldives seeks to engage with stakeholders from all sectors (government, business, politics and civil society, among others) to raise awareness of corruption’s detrimental effects on development and society, improve transparency and accountability in governance, and eliminate corruption from the daily lives of people.

Transparency Maldives received formal government registration in 2007, and is the National Contact of Transparency International (TI) in the Maldives.

2. Background to the assignment

A strong Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is a powerful asset in the fight against corruption. When they are independent of the government and empowered to investigate allegations, they have the potential to hold even the most powerful people in society to account.

Recognizing the potential of ACAs in combating corruption Transparency International has recently launched the ACA Strengthening (ACA) Initiative, the purpose of which is to undertake assessments of ACAs throughout South Asia.

Research Teams of each National Chapter will be responsible for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the ACA in their relevant country prior to publishing those findings in a comprehensive written assessment which will also include recommendations addressing perceived performance gaps; this will serve as a prelude to media engagement and stakeholder consultations to support the institution to support the institution to become an effective Anti-Corruption Agency.

3. Purpose of the Assignment

Transparency Maldives is seeking the services of a graphics and layout expert to design and develop the layout for the ACA SI report.

4. Responsibilities of the consultant

The Consultant will be expected to work closely with the Research Coordinator for the Anti-Corruption Agency Strengthening Initiative:

* Ensure the designing and products are produced in line with Transparency International’s proposed layout for the ACA SI project

5. Deliverables

* Design and develop the layout and design for in accordance with the template provided for the ACA SI report by Transparency International

6. Duration of the Assignment

Three (3) weeks upon signing of contract. The consultant must be based in Malé, Maldives for the duration of the assignment.

7. Reporting

The Consultant will work closely with and report to the Research Coordinator for the ACA SI project at Transparency Maldives throughout the assignment.

8. Required Competencies

* Proven 3-5 years experience in graphic and layout designing/publication production.

* Excellent command of Adobe applications including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

* Advanced understanding of vector-based imagery, such as maps and logos is essential.

* Proven ability to deliver high quality results under tight deadlines.

* Proven ability to coordinate, follow instructions and work under pressure either part of a team or individually.

 

Closing date for applications: Before 04.00pm, 16th November 2016.

Application and selection procedures: Interested applicants should submit an email to Mimrah Abdul Ghafoor (mimrah.abdulghafoor@transparencymaldives.org). The subject line must read “ACA SI Layout Design”. The content of the application should not be longer than 5 pages and must include the following:

* A summary of relevant experience (attach a brief CV, providing evidence that you are qualified to undertake this assignment).

* Portfolio/examples of similar assignments that you have undertaken (two to three), preferably in the Maldives, over the past 3-5 years.

* Proposed Charges.

* Two relevant references.

Applications must be in English or Dhivehi. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews.

The contract will be awarded on a lump sum/fixed cost basis. The application should state the bid amount (in MVR) for undertaking the work. Transparency Maldives retains the right to reject any or all of the applications and/or to enter into additional negotiations with one or more of the tendering parties to help define the exact scope of the work and deliverables to be undertaken.

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Transparency Maldives is seeking the services of a videographer to develop a 10-minute video spot encapsulating a three-day workshop organized by Transparency Maldives.

Position title: Videography Consultant
Research title: Develop a video encapsulating a three-day workshop
Expected period of commitment: 03 Weeks
Application deadline: 04.00pm, 25th October 2016
Location: Male’, Maldives

View/download the Terms of Reference.

1. Organization Background

Transparency Maldives is a non-partisan organization that endeavors to be a constructive force in society by promoting collaboration and discussion on corruption, transparency and accountability. Transparency Maldives seeks to engage with stakeholders from all sectors (government, business, politics and civil society, among others) to raise awareness of corruption’s detrimental effects on development and society, improve transparency and accountability in governance, and eliminate corruption from the daily lives of people.

Transparency Maldives received formal government registration in 2007, and is the National Contact of Transparency International (TI) in the Maldives.

2. Background to the assignment

Transparency Maldives is overseeing a human rights project with the aim of widening the democratic space and to protect human rights in the Maldives through collective lobbying and advocacy, partnership building and dialogue. It has been observed a decline in the democratic space in the Maldives between 2013-2014. This decline is reflected in the 2016 Freedom House ratings in which the Maldives is no longer categorised an electoral democracy and is listed as a ‘partly free’ country. Furthermore, civil and political liberties such as freedom of assembly, speech and association enshrined in the Maldives Constitution have been constrained through new laws and regulations such as the NGO regulation, Anti-Terror Act, and the Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act.

Despite this dismal situation, the government of the Maldives has accepted 198 recommendations from the 2015 UPR review. Additionally, there is a strong grassroots support for democracy and human rights in the Maldives. This positively creates an avenue to reclaim the diminishing democratic space and to protect and promote human rights. As such, Transparency Maldives intends to create and disseminate information related to human rights through multiple avenues including a monthly newsletter and a quarterly digest.

3. Purpose of the Assignment

Transparency Maldives is seeking the services of a videographer to develop a 10-minute video spot encapsulating a three day workshop organized by Transparency Maldives.

4. Responsibilities of the consultant

The Consultant will be expected to work closely with the Senior Project Coordinator for the human rights project. The Consultant will:
• Ensure that the workshop and the key messages delivered in the workshop are well encapsulated in communication and coordination with the Senior Project Coordinator.
• Ensure that the workshop and the key messages delivered in the workshop are presented through the video.
• Ensure that the video is of high quality, and in a format (or in formats) that is/are suitable for sharing on multiple media including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

5. Deliverables

• Raw video captured throughout the workshop, that is workshop snippets and participant interviews.
• A 10-minute video encapsulating the workshop and the key messages delivered in the workshop.

6. Duration of the Assignment

Three (3) weeks, with expected start date 27th October. The consultant must be based in Malé, Maldives for the duration of the assignment.

7. Reporting

The Consultant will work closely with and report to the Senior Project Coordinator for the human rights project at Transparency Maldives throughout the assignment.

8. Required Competencies

• Proven 3-5 years of experience in video production.
• Proven ability to deliver high quality results under tight deadlines.
• Proven ability to coordinate, follow instructions and work under pressure either part of a team or individually.

Closing date for applications: Before 04.00pm, 25th October 2016.

Application and selection procedures: Interested applicants should submit an email to Ibrahim Thayyib (ibrahim.thayyib@transparencymaldives.org). The subject line must read “PHR Video Production”. The content of the application should not be longer than 5 pages and must include the following:

• A summary of relevant experience (attach a brief CV, providing evidence that you are qualified to undertake this assignment).
• Portfolio/examples of similar assignments that you have undertaken (two to three), preferably in the Maldives, over the past 3-5 years.
• Proposed Charges.
• Two relevant references.

Applications must be in English or Dhivehi.

The contract will be awarded on a lump sum/fixed cost basis. The application should state the bid amount (in MVR) for undertaking the work. Transparency Maldives retains the right to reject any or all of the applications and/or to enter into additional negotiations with one or more of the tendering parties to help define the exact scope of the work and deliverables to be undertaken.

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PRESS STATEMENT: October 15, 2016

Transparency Maldives (TM) is deeply disappointed by the Maldivian government’s decision to leave the Commonwealth on 13 October 2016. The Commonwealth has been an intrinsic part of the country’s political, economic and social development since 1982 and an ardent advocate for democracy in the Maldives. To withdraw from the Commonwealth without any public consultation and in response to the Commonwealth’s attempts to hold the government accountable, demonstrates disregard for public opinion in matters that directly impact the people, and the government’s inability to live up to the inherent principles of good governance, democracy and human rights enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter.

The timing of this decision also raises a number of questions about the government’s motives for leaving the Commonwealth. It comes at a critical juncture when the country is on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) Agenda with clear and straightforward recommendations to improve the gradually eroding democratic principles and the derogation from human rights standards in the Maldives. While the recently planned all party talks supported by the Commonwealth and the UN saw some hope for political reconciliation, the government’s decision has certainly impeded that very crucial process the Maldives needs for the upcoming Presidential Elections in 2018. The hope for a free and fair election hinges on political stability, State accountability and public trust that is greatly lacking in the country at the moment. The present move takes that process on an entirely different trajectory; one that forces international support and commitment towards the installation of democratic values to be misconstrued as encroachments onto the sovereignty of the Maldives.

The most recent statement from the CMAG identified several reasons for including Maldives in its formal agenda. There was also a sense of hope that things can and must improve. However, it is disheartening to realize that one of the oldest partners in development of democracy and human rights in the Maldives will no longer be able to play a role in the country’s future, despite an overwhelming public outcry against the decision to withdraw.

TM calls on the Maldivian government to immediately reconsider this hasty and detrimental decision and to consider public opinion in this issue.  TM also notes that withdrawal from the Commonwealth will not bring an end to the criticism and concerns raised by civil society, media, political parties and the international community. Only by genuine political will, reconciliation and respect for local and international democratic principles will there be an end to local and international scrutiny.

Finally,  TM urge the government not to jeopardize and undermine the Maldives’ standing internationally. Just as the present generation has benefitted from the countless opportunities and partnership facilitated by the Commonwealth, it is reprehensible to deprive the future generations from similar opportunities by leaving the Commonwealth.

ENDS

View/Download press statement here

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Transparency Maldives welcomes applications from artists in the Maldives working with a wide range of mediums to participate in the Democracy-Art Workshop taking place from 29 October–10 November 2016, and the Democracy-Art Exhibition taking place from 11–13 November 2016.

Art plays an important role in bringing and reflecting cultural shifts that occur within a community. Bringing a diverse group of artists together in a workshop space will create opportunities and a platform to exchange ideas that will eventually be translated into a group public exhibition.

1. About Democracy-Art Workshop & Exhibition

Workshop date: 29 October–10 November 2016
Exhibition date: 11–13 November 2016

Democracy-Art workshop provides an opportunity for ten Maldivian artists to work with the workshop facilitators, Umair Badheeu and Fazail Lutfi, for ten days.

The ten selected participants will meet as a group during the course of the workshop. The workshop will be a space where they generate and exchange ideas. They will meet as a group to review peer work and learn about the theme of the workshop and the exhibition. The workshop sessions will include discussions on design concepts, reading analysis, lectures from guest speakers, critiques, and writing.

Participants will also engage themselves in individual studio time. This is a time when they they will experiment with their own ideas and develop various ways to express them. This studio time will help them to strengthen their voice as individual artists. The individual studios will bring diverse ideas to group discussions and strengthen the quality of dialogue between the participants.

At the end of the workshop, participants will be given the opportunity to show their work (produced during their individual studio time) at the Democracy-Art Exhibition that will be held for 3 days in November 2016.

Important: Participants are expected to commit at least 8 hours per day during the workshop period.

2. About the workshop facilitators

Umair Badheeu is an artist and curator who had his formal training in photojournalism and fine art from Corcoran College of Art and Design. He has conducted various art and photography workshops related to social issues. His latest installations are derived from cultural influences of the Indian Ocean diaspora, more specifically, astrology, weather patterns and its meanings.

Fazail Lutfi is an artist who uses video and sculptural elements to create his installations exploring his ambivalence towards place, memory and imagination. He received his formal training in dramatic arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. He also taught animation and motion graphics at University of Regina where he pursued a master’s degree in visual arts and media production. Currently he divides his time working on commercial creative projects and making art.

3. Who can apply

Maldivian artists using any medium (painting, drawing, sculpture, poetry, photography, film, mixed media, etc) who are 18 years and above may apply to join the workshop.

4. How to apply

Please email a short writing  in Dhivehi or English about democracy and equality to application@transparencymaldives.org before 10am on 27th October 2016. The email subject line must read “Democracy-Art Workshop”.

Please include your name, age and contact details (mobile number and email address) on the top right corner of the writing.

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

If further information is required, please contact Ahid Rasheed: ahid.rasheed@transparencymaldives.org.

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ކިތަންމެ ފުރިހަމަ ގާނޫނެއް އޮތްކަމުގައިވީނަމަވެސް އެގާނޫނުގެ ބޭނުން އެންމެ ރަނގަޅުގޮތުގައި ރައްޔިތުންނަށް ހިފޭނީ ގާނޫން ތަންފީޒުކުރުމުގައި ގާނޫނުގެ ރޫހާއި އެއްގޮތަށް އަމަލުކޮށްގެން

View/Download the press release in Dhivehi

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Maldives has had five-year development plans, but no overall long term plans. Development currently depends on promises by political parties. As often happens, even existing land use plans (drawn up for some islands) are swept away to fit party pledges.

Using the following foreign and local investments that have faced difficulty over the recent years due to ad hoc policies and government changes, this governance update will attempt to highlight the dangers of pledge-based development plans compounded by a lack of national and regional development plans. 

Cases referred to in this governance update includes: the airports that has been pledged to be built in Dhigulaabaadhoo and Khulhudhuffushi; Gulhi Falhu development project; the GMR airport deal and the Tsunami aid cases.

Read the full governance bulletin here: CFIP Governance bulletin 06 – 2016

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On 18 February 2016 Gasim Abdul Kareem, Manager at Bank of Maldives Nilandhoo Branch, was arrested by Maldives Police Service for leaking detailed bank statements of a private company, SOF Pvt. Ltd., that is in the midst of one of the biggest cases of grand corruption, money laundering, embezzlement and abuse of power the country has ever seen.

The leaked documents revealed how SOF bank accounts were used to siphon off millions of dollars embezzled from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC) – a state company set up to promote Maldives as a tourism destination.

The issue was first flagged in an audit report published in 2014 by the then Auditor General, Niyaz Ibrahim. The report revealed that a staggering USD 6 million had been embezzled from MMPRC by the then Tourism Minister, Ahmed Adeeb, and the Managing Director of the Company, Abdulla Ziyath. In his report, Niyaz recommended a thorough investigation to hold those responsible to account.

His report was ignored by investigative authorities and instead he was summarily dismissed from his position as the Auditor General, by a government majority controlled parliament. It appeared that the government had been successful in quashing any further inquiry into MMPRC corruption.

Ironically, the issue was dug up by the government following an explosion on the presidential speedboat, for which Adeeb, by then the Vice President of Maldives, was named the primary suspect. Adeeb and Ziyath were promptly arrested. Following the incident, President Yameen addressed the nation and narrated a story of corruption, nepotism and abuse of power orchestrated by his former right-hand man, Adeeb.

This finally forced investigative authorities, including the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), into action. The new Auditor General published a second audit report stating that over USD 79.37 million had been embezzled from the state coffers. The ACC launched its own investigation, which is still ongoing.

Who is Gasim? What did he do?

Four years ago Gasim Abdul Kareem, a native of Naifaru and a father of three, was hired by Bank of Maldives to manage their branch in Rasdhoo. Since then he has also worked as the manager in Kulhudhuffushi branch and more recently, in the Nilandhoo branch where he discovered questionable financial transactions made by SOF Pvt. Ltd.

Instead of taking his discovery to the seniors at the bank or reporting to relevant state authorities, Gasim chose to email the documents to some 500 bank staff and a further 99 people – for which he was sacked, arrested, and eventually charged with unauthorised disclosure of private information.

Since his arrest on 18 February 2016, there have been many opinions about Gasim, his motives and interests. The state considers him a criminal. Others view him as a whistleblower who exposed corruption involving powerful people, for which he is being unfairly targeted and persecuted by the state. For the most part, his case has been ignored by a desensitised public driven to exhaustion by the continuous targeting of individuals even slightly critical of the state.

Whistleblower or criminal?

The state wants Gasim to be seen not as a whistleblower but as someone who violated privacy by revealing confidential information. But does that argument really hold water?

A whistleblower is someone who exposes a wrongdoing—for example, corruption or money laundering—at work, and does so in the interest of the public and not for any personal benefit. According to Article 232(b) of the Penal Code, any good faith disclosure of private information for the purpose of exposing a wrongdoing is not an offence.

Gasim, by exposing a clear case of corruption, gained no monetary benefit nor was he expecting to acquire political or institutional power and therefore acted in good faith. This makes Gasim a whistleblower and the state has a responsibility to ensure his protection.

However, the state has decided to prosecute Gasim as a criminal, under Article 232 (Unlawful Acquisition of Information) and Section 233 (Unlawful Disclosure of Information) of the Penal Code. The reason for this becomes clear when we look at what has been revealed so far about the MMPRC scandal.

The latest audit report states that a total of USD 79.37 million was embezzled through MMPRC, and of this, USD 70.17 million was deposited into the bank account of SOF Pvt. Ltd. Mohamed Allam Latheef ‘Moho’, owner of SOF Pvt. Ltd, later said the money was distributed to the first couple, the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, and other senior politicians.

Analysis of bank statements leaked by Gasim show that large amounts of money, in some cases, ranging from USD 10,000 to 500,000 was credited to various private accounts in different banks in the Maldives. One such account was reportedly that of President Yameen at Maldives Islamic Bank.

The audit report stated that embezzled money was deposited into SOF accounts but stopped short of stating where this money was routed to through these accounts. Gasim filled in those essential gaps through his disclosures.

One point that the state has been eager to emphasise is that Gasim did not share the information to competent state authorities: why did Gasim go straight to the public instead of reporting to the police, Anti-Corruption-Commission, or the judiciary, if he was so concerned about corruption and money laundering?

Making even a cursory effort to understand Gasim’s actions through his perspective reveals a dilemma. He had witnessed the state’s pattern of response towards individuals who dared to associate them with corruption. Consider how the former Auditor General was removed from office for bringing this issue to the spotlight in 2014. It was clear that the systems put in place to stop corruption was not working.

Consider also how the arrest and subsequent investigation of the then Vice President Ahmed Adeeb revealed the compromised nature of all key watchdog state institutions. One cannot be blamed if Gasim had little faith in law enforcement agencies, as it was the President who stated that law enforcement agencies were corrupted and that Adeeb routinely bought influence from the police.

As for the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Chair of the Commission just a few short months back accepted a luxury flat gifted to him by the President’s Economic Council, which is co-chaired by the President and the then Vice President, Adeeb.

Therefore, it is not all that surprising that Gasim chose to bypass state institutions and go straight to the public.

Drop the case

Gasim should be praised and protected, not punished, for taking action against corruption. The public have a right to know when public funds are being embezzled to enrich a powerful few that always seem to be above the law.

To prosecute Gasim sends the message that protecting the privacy of individuals who engage in corruption on a grand scale is more important than protecting whistleblowers who expose their corruption.

The state must drop the case against Gasim Abdul Kareem.

#DropTheCase


Download this article here.

For updates on Gasim’s case please visit: http://dropthecase.transparencymaldives.org/