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ޔާމީން ރަޝީދު މަރާލުމުގެ އަމަލު ތަހުގީގުކޮށް، އެކަމުގެ ފަހަތުގައިވާ ބަޔަކާއި ސަބަބު ހާމަކުރުމަށް ގޮވާލަން

ރޭގެ ދަންވަރުގެ ވަގުތެއްގައި އަނިޔާވެރިގޮތަކަށް މަރާލާފައިވާ ޔާމީން ރަޝީދަކީ ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ ސިޔާސީ މާހައުލު ހަރުދަނާކުރުމަށާއި، އިންސާނީ ހައްގުތައް ހިމާޔަތްކުރުމަށްގޮވާލާ އަދި ދީނީ ހައްދުފަހަނައެޅުން ހުއްޓުވުމަކަށް ގެނައުމަށް ކެނޑިނޭޅި ވަކާލާތުކުރަމުންއައި ހިތްވަރުގަދަ ޒުވާނެކެވެ. އަދި 2014ގައި ވީނުވީއެއްނޭނގި ގެއްލުވާލާފައިވާ ނޫސްވެރިޔާ އަދި ހިއުމަން ރައިޓްސް އެކްޓިވިސްޓް، އަހުމަދު ރިލުވާންގެ އެންމެ ގާތް އެއް އެކުވެރިއެކެވެ. ޔާމީން ރަޝީދުގެ މަރާއިގުޅިގެން މިނިވަން، ހާމަކަންބޮޑު އަދި ފުރިހަމަ ތަހުގީގެއް ކުރުމަށް ޓްރާންސްޕޭރަންސީ މޯލްޑިވްސްއިން ފުލުހުންނާއި ހިއުމަން ރައިޓްސް ކޮމިޝަން އަދި ޝަރުއީ މުއައްސަސާތައް ހިމެނޭގޮތަށް ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ މުއައްސަސާތަކަށް ގޮވާލަމެވެ.

ޔާމީން ރަޝީދު މަރާލާފައިމިވަނީ އެކިފަރާތްތަކުން އޭނައަށް މަރުގެ އިންޒާރު ދީފައިވަނިކޮށެވެ. އަދި މިފަދަ އިންޒާރުތަކުގެ މައުލޫމާތު ޔާމީން ރަޝީދުވަނީ ފުލުހުންނާ ހިއްސާކޮށް، މައްސަލަ ބަލައިދިނުމަށް އެދިފައެވެ. ނަމަވެސް ޔާމީން ރަޝީދު ހުށަހެޅި މައްސަލަތަކަށް ޖަވާބެއް ލިބިފައިނުވާކަމަށް އޭނާ ސޯޝަލް މީޑިއާގައި ބުނެފައިވެއެވެ. އަދި އެކަމުގެ ކަންބޮޑުވުން ޓްރާސްންޕޭރަންސީ މޯލްޑިވްސްއާވެސް ހިއްސާކޮށްފައިވެއެވެ. މިފަދަ ހަމަލާތަކަކީ ސީދާ މިނިވަން ހިޔާލާއި ދެކޮޅަށްދެވޭ ހަމަލާތަކެއްކަމުގައި ޓްރާންސްޕޭރަންސީ މޯލްޑިވްސްއިން ގަބޫލުކުރަމެވެ. އަދި ކުރީގައި ދެވިފައިވާ މިފަދަ ހަމަލާތަކުގެ ހަގީގަތް މިހާތަނަށް ހޯދިފައިނުވާކަމީ ދައުލަތުން މިފަދަ ކަންކަމަށްދޭ އަހައްމިޔަތުގެ ހީނަރުކަން ދައްކުވައިދޭ ކަމެއްކަމުގައިވެސް ދެކެމެވެ. މިފަދަ ކަންކަމުގައި އިންސާފު ގާއިމުނުވުމަކީ، އަނިޔާވެރި ޖަރީމާތައް ހިންގާ ފަރާތްތަކަށްލިބޭ ހިތްވަރެއްވެސްމެއެވެ. މިގޮތުން ޑރ.އަފްރާޝީމު އަލީގެ މަރުގެ ފަހަތުގައިތިބި ބަޔަކާއި ސަބަބު ހޯދިފައިނުވުމާއި، އަހުމަދު ރިލްވާން ވަގަށްނެގިބަޔަކު ހޯދިފައިނުވުން ފާހަގަކުރެވެއެވެ.

މިފަދަ ގަތުލުއާމުތަކުގެ ހަގީގަތް ހާމަނުވާހާހިނދަކު ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގައި އިންސާފު ގާއިމުކުރެވިދާނެކަމީ ސުވާލުއުފެދޭ ކަމެކެވެ. ހަމަޖެހޭ، އިންސާފުވެރި މުޖުތަމައެއް ހޯދައިދެވޭނީ ދައުލަތުން ވަކިވަކި ފަރުދުންގެ ހައްގު ހިމާޔަތްކުރެވޭނެ ހަރުދަނާ ފިޔަވަޅުތަކެއް އަޅައިގެންނެވެ. ޔާމީން ރަޝީދުގެ މަރާލުން ހަރުކަށި އިބާރާތުން ކުށްވެރިކޮށް ވީހާވެސް އަވަހަކަށް މިކަން ފުރިހަމައަށް ތަހުގީގުކޮށް، މިކަމުގެ ފަހަތުގައިވާ ބަޔަކާއި ސަބަބު ހާމަކުރުމަށް ދައުލަތުގެ މުއައްސަސާތަކަށް ގޮވާލަމެވެ.

މިހިތާމަވެރި ވަގުތުގައި ޔާމީން ރަޝީދުގެ އާއިލާއާއި އެކުވެރިންނަށް ތައުޒިޔާ ދަންނަވާ ކެތްތެރިކަމާއި ހިތްވަރަށް މިޖަމިއްޔާއިން އެދެމެވެ.

ނިމުނީ.   

Download our press statement here

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PRESS RELEASE – April 13, 2017

Transparency Maldives (TM) will observe the upcoming local council elections currently scheduled to be held on 6 May 2017. The key objective of this observation will be to understand the challenges facing the electoral system, identify issues in the larger electoral environment and to provide meaningful recommendations to address electoral issues in the Maldives.

Approximately 25 registered observers will support our election day observation. In addition to election day observation, TM also will monitor the run up to the election and the larger electoral environment. In this regard, TM has consulted relevant stakeholders including the Elections Commission and political parties, with further consultations due over the next few weeks.

Based on past election observation findings, Transparency Maldives notes two key trends in Maldivian elections:

  1. Voting day processes are generally well administered and fair.
  2. Issues such as vote buying, misuse of state resources, intimidation of political opponents and undue restriction of space for political activity tend to take place in the run up to the election.

Based on this, Transparency Maldives will focus on the following aspects in our observation of the local council election:

  1. The electoral environment of Maldives.
  2. The electoral legal framework.
  3. Election day proceedings.

We note with concern that the local council election will be held against a backdrop of concerning level of repression of civil and political liberties in the country. Political persecution is at an all time high with all opposition political leaders currently in prison, under some form of detention or operating out of the country, in exile.

The introduction of a host of laws and regulations that undermine and counter democratic norms and freedoms has put serious constraints on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. The newly enacted Protection of Reputation and Freedom of Expression Act, has criminalized defamation and undermined press freedom in the country, and the amendment to the Freedom of Assembly Act has placed serious constraints on political activity. Right to freedom of peaceful assembly and the freedom of expression are prerequisites for a free and fair election and are necessary to ensure a campaigning environment, free of intimidation and undue influence.

As of now the election day has been delayed thrice, citing various reasons. Internal conflict within the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) led to a civil suit which consequently postponed the initial date (14 January 2017) scheduled for voting. We also note that repeated election delays have created a tradition of undermining legal and constitutional deadlines set for elections. Such actions contravene democratic principles and undermine the integrity of elections.

In the coming days, Transparency Maldives will continue to publicise information of its election observation. On election day we will hold a press conference after voting concludes to share our observations with the public. A final election report will be published following the election.

END

You can view/download press statement here in English and in Dhivehi

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27 މާރޗް 2017 ވަނަ ދުވަހު ނެގޭ ވޯޓަކީ ހާމަކަމާއިއެކު މަޖިލީހުގެ އިތުބާރާއި ކަރާމާތް ރައްޔިތުންގެ ކުރިމަތީގައި ހިފެހެއްޓެނިވި ގޮތެއްގައި ނެގޭ ވޯޓަކަށް ހެދުމަށް ޓްރާންސްޕޭރަންސީ މޯލްޑިވްސް އިން ގޮވާލާ ރައްޔިތުންގެ މަޖިލީހުގެ އަމީން އާންމަށް ފޮނުވައިފައިވާ  ސިޓީ

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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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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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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/