View/download our press statement here
Download press statement here
PRESS RELEASE – May 07, 2017
Transparency Maldives thanks its observers deployed across the country to observe the Local Council Election held on 6 May 2017. With the support of 25 observers and volunteers, TM observed 19 ballot boxes in 10 atolls: Haa Dhaalu, Baa, Kaafu, Alifu Dhaalu, Vaavu, Laamu, Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani and Seenu Atoll.
In observing the Local Council Election, Transparency Maldives assessed both the election-day proceedings as well as the larger electoral and political environment. Transparency Maldives would like to express its gratitude to state institutions, civil society organisations and political parties for their contribution.
The following are the key findings we highlight based on our observation of 19 polling stations.
- For various reasons, in several of the ballot boxes, voting began later than 08.00 am, as announced by the Elections Commission. In 17 out of the 19 ballot boxes observed, voting commenced between 8.10 and 09.00 am.
- All necessary personnel and equipment were on site when voting began.
- Except for two, all ballot boxes had the presence of one or more representatives from political parties or candidates when polling started.
- Out of the 19 ballot boxes observed, one was placed at a different location from where it was initially assigned.
- Closing of polling was scheduled to 04.00pm, however close to this time, Election Commission announced to delay closing of polls to 06.00pm where polling started by 08.00am and to 08.00pm where polling started after 08.00am.
- Out of the 19 ballot boxes observed, a total of 12 voters were not able to vote because due to administrative issues such as their names not being on the voter registry.
- Out of the 19 ballot boxes observed, a total of 172 voters were assisted voters.
- The ballot boxes observed by Transparency Maldives did not encounter any disturbances, neither was voting process disrupted for any reason.
- Except for one, all ballot boxes had the presence of one or more representatives from political parties or candidates during the counting.
- Out of the 19 ballot boxes observed, 15 ballot papers had extra marks, and three voters showed their ballot paper before casting the vote. Studies conducted in the Maldives suggests that similar acts are measures to ensure that those offered money or gifts vote to the candidate/party who offered money or gifts.
The following are our key observations of the larger political and electoral environment.
- We note with concern that the 2017 Local Council Election was delayed on three occasions. While the first delay was the result of a Civil Court ruling following a case filed by the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), the election was further postponed a second and third time by the Elections Commission. A key feature of democratic elections is for it to take place regularly according to a predetermined schedule. Failure to hold elections as specified in the law, and the decisions by the Elections Commission to delay the elections will affect public confidence in the institution and in the electoral process.
- This election took place amidst political turmoil, with all opposition political leaders either currently in jail, in exile or facing criminal charges. This hindered opposition political parties’ ability to freely campaign in the run up to the election.
- Following the first postponement of the election, in February 2017, the fast-tracked amendments to the Local Councils Elections Act changed the requirements for candidacy in the election. This amendment allowed persons with previous criminal records to compete as candidates in the Local Council Election. Election delays coupled with such arbitrary legislative changes serve to undermine the credibility of elections.
- Transparency Maldives and previous observer missions have repeatedly noted the problem of high level of vote buying in the Maldives. This continues to be an unchecked nationwide electoral issue that affect the credibility and integrity of elections.
- We also note with concern that there were instances of misuse of state resources. For example, the Public Service Media (PSM) while denying coverage of opposition political campaigns, disproportionately covered political campaign events of the ruling party. Such actions not only undermine the integrity of PSM but also serves to provide the ruling party with an unfair advantage and precludes a level playing field.
- Unfair restrictions on freedom of assembly hindered the Opposition’s ability to campaign. Opposition parties expressed concern regarding arbitrary restrictions on leasing out public venues and allowing opposition street rallies while similar restrictions were not placed for ruling party candidates.
- The Anti Defamation and Freedom of Expression Act passed in August 2016 placed severe limitations on media freedoms and restricted their ability to scrutinise election campaigns.
- As with previous elections, Transparency Maldives notes a disproportionately low number of female candidates contesting in this Local Council Election. We also note the lack of efforts by the State and political parties to increase female political participation in elected leadership positions.
In light of our findings we observed that the administrative processes during election day was marred by the the questionable decision by the Elections Commission to arbitrarily extend the voting time. We urge the Election Commission to undertake serious confidence building measures to strengthen the electoral process. Moreover, significant problems exist in the larger electoral and political environment which include; the lack of a level playing field for opposition political parties, severe and arbitrary restrictions on media freedoms, freedom of assembly and expression, all of which restrict political and campaign activities; vote buying and the misuse of public resources for political campaigning.
We call on state institutions to lead the efforts to create a pluralistic political environment, work inclusively and with sincerity to address these issues and to create an enabling environment, conducive to a free and fair presidential election in 2018.
We offer our congratulations to all the newly elected councilors..
Read and download the joint statement by Transparency Maldives and Maldivian Democracy Network condemning the rejection of the letters submitted by Yameen Rasheed’s family to Maldives Police Service. The letters call for a credible investigation into the brutal murder of Yameen Rasheed and the forced disappearance of Ahmed Rilwan.
Download the letter here
Download the press statement here
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.
Download our press statement here
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:
- Voting day processes are generally well administered and fair.
- 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:
- The electoral environment of Maldives.
- The electoral legal framework.
- 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.
PRESS RELEASE – April 06, 2017
A pluralistic political environment that allows for political dissent is one of the most fundamental prerequisites for a democratic society. Article 30 of the Maldivian Constitution unambiguously embodies this right for all Maldivians. However, today we are witnessing the intimidation of political opponents using state institutions, either through criminal investigations or state imposed fines. More disturbingly these measures against political leaders coincide with political fallout with government. The fact that that all opposition party leaders are either currently in jail, in exile or under arrest is a testament to authoritarian reversal the country is experiencing.
Transparency Maldives strongly condemns and is concerned by the intimidation of political opponents and those critical of the government by state institutions and the curtailing of the fundamental right to hold differing political opinions and ideas. Despite Article 17 of the Constitution disallowing discrimination based on “political thought”, we are witnessing political opponents facing unfair reprisals as a result of their political views. Holding dissenting political opinion has become a dangerous prospect in the country.
Transparency Maldives urges the government to find an amicable solution to the current political impasse and to work sincerely to ensure that the upcoming presidential election is free, fair and competitive. We call on the government to work with sincerity to bring back the country to the path of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights.
PRESS RELEASE – January 25, 2017
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) – an annual survey by Transparency International that scores and ranks countries based on the perceived level of corruption in that country – was released today by Transparency International.
The last time in which the Maldives was included in the CPI was in 2011. The CPI is calculated using a composite assessment consisting of a minimum of 3 separate sources. Between 2012 and 2016 the lack of three separate sources to triangulate information for the CPI has precluded the Maldives’ inclusion.
On a scale of 1-100 with 100 indicating that the country is perceived to be corruption free and 0 indicating that the country is perceived to be highly corrupt, the Maldives scores low at only 36 indicating that corruption remains an urgent concern within the country. Out of a total of 176 countries the Maldives is ranked 95.
This accords with the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer surveys which yielded that the Maldivian public is extremely skeptical regarding the integrity of individual institutions, including the Parliament, Judiciary and Executive and furthermore are concerned about the high level of corruption that pervade the entire state.
This is the first time the Maldives has been included in the CPI since the methodology used to calculate the CPI was updated in 2012. Because of the update in the methodology CPI scores before 2012 are not comparable over time. Hence the Maldives’ score in 2016 is not comparable to its score and rank in 2011. Furthermore, CPI is a relative scale and thus stark deteriorations in corruption perceptions of other countries – which will improve our ranking automatically – does not correspond with an improvement in the Maldives’ level of corruption. It is also important to note that fewer countries have been included in 2016 in comparison to 2011.
In comparison to other South Asian countries, Maldives ranks identically to Sri Lanka whilst Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan are ranked lower than the Maldives. Conversely, India and Bhutan are ranked higher than the Maldives.
At a time when massive corruption scandals including the MMPRC grand corruption case are still fresh in public memory and remain unanswered, it is imperative that we increase our efforts to combat corruption and hold the Government and state institutions accountable.
Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index has been published since 1995. The CPI draws on data sources from 13 different studies by 12 international institutions specializing in governance and business climate analysis for 176 countries, and reflects the opinions of experts, civil society organizations, and business people on public sector corruption. The Index has a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean) in order to rank the countries.
This year, Maldives’ score was identified by the contents and results from 3 international surveys: Global Insight Country Risk Ratings; World Bank – Country Policy and Institutional Assessment; and Varieties of Democracy Project.
You can view/download press statement here
Transparency International and Transparency Maldives welcome the release of whistleblower Gasim Abdul Kareem from prison but are disappointed that the prosecution and sentencing went forward this week. They now call for him to be exonerated.
“Kareem should be exonerated and praised not punished. He disclosed information that is critical for exposing corruption. The sentencing means he will have a criminal record that will make his future employment difficult,” said Cobus de Swardt, managing director of Transparency International. “Kareem is an anti-corruption hero.”
Kareem was sentenced on 15 November to eight months and 12 days in prison. He was released on 17 November as he had already spent the required amount of time in detention. Kareem was dismissed from employment in February, spent 133 days in Dhoonidhoo Prison, and spent 138 days under house arrest.
Kareem’s sentencing came amidst calls by the public and local and international organisations, including the New York City Bar Association, urging the Prosecutor General of the Maldives to dismiss the case against him.
Kareem should never have stood trial in the first place. His disclosure of account transactions of a private company that was used to reroute embezzled money relating to a multi-million dollar corruption scandal in the Maldives was in the public interest.
Kareem is also one of the four anti-corruption heroes shortlisted for Transparency International’s 2016 Anti-Corruption Award.
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.
“The sentencing of Kareem sends the message that whistleblowers in the Maldives will not be protected nor commended. They will, instead, pay a high price while those alleged of wrongdoing will continue to engage in corrupt behaviour with absolute impunity,” said Thoriq Hamid, programme manager of Transparency Maldives.
Transparency Maldives and Transparency International are calling for an effective whistleblower protection system in the Maldives.
View press release here
ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގައި ކޮރަޕްޝަނަށް ތުހުމަތު ކުރެވޭގޮތަށް ހިންގުނު އެތައްމިލިއަން ޑޮލަރެއްގެ ފައިސާގެ މުއާމަލާތްތަކާގުޅޭ ބެންކު ތަފުސީލުތަކެއް ހާމަކޮށްލި ވިސްލްބްލޯވަރު ގާސިމް އަބުދުލްކަރީމުގެ މައްޗަށް ދައުވާކޮށް ހުކުމްކުރުމާއިމެދު ޓްރާންސްޕޭރަންސީ މޯލްޑިވްސް އިން އިންތިހާއަށް ކަންބޮޑުވެއެވެ.
ގާސިމުގެ މައްޗަށް ހުކުމް ކުރެވިފައިވަނީ އެކަމާއި ދޮކޮޅަށް އާންމުންނާއި ދިވެހިރާއްޖެއާއި ބައިނަލްއަގުވާމީ ޖަމާއަތްތަކުން އަޑުއުފުލަމުންދިޔަ ދަނޑިވަޅެއްގައެވެ. މިގޮތުން ނިއުޔޯކް ބާ އެސޯސިއޭޝަނުންވަނީ، ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ ޕްރޮސަކިއުޓަރ ޖެނެރަލްއަށް، މި މައްސަލަ ދޫކޮށްލުމަށް އިލްތިމާސް ކޮށްފައެވެ. އަދި މިހުކުމް އިއްވާފައިވަނީ ޓްރާންސްޕޭރަންސީ އިންޓާނޭޝަނަލް އިން، ބައިނަލްއަގުވާމީ އެންޓި-ކޮރަޕްޝަން އެވާޑަށް ގާސިމުގެ ނަން ހުށަހެޅި ދުވަހުގެ ފަހުދުވަހެވެ.
ވިސްލްބްލޯވަރުންނަކީ ކޮރަޕްޝަނާއި އެނޫންވެސް ނޭއްގާނި އަމަލުތައް ފަޅާއެރުވުމުގައި އިސްދައުރެއް އަދާކުރާ ބައެކެވެ. އެފަދަ ނޭއްގާނި އަމަލުތައް ފަޅާއެރުވުމާ ގުޅިގެން ވިސްލްބްލޯވަރަކަށް އަދަބެއް ދިނުމަކީ ކުރެވިގެންވާނެ ކަމެއްނޫނެވެ. ނަމަވެސް ގާސިމުވަނީ ވަޒީފާއިން ވަކިކުރެވި، 133 ދުވަހު ދޫނިދޫގައި ހައްޔަރުކުރެވި، 138 ދުވަސް ގޭބަންދުގައި ބެހެއްޓިފައެވެ. އަދި މިއަދު ގާސިމުގެ މައްޗަށް އިއްވުނީ 8 މަހާއި 12 ދުވަހުގެ ޖަލުހުކުމެކެވެ
މި ހުކުމުގެ ސަބަބުން ދޭހަވެގެންދަނީ ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގައި ވިސްލްބްލޯވަރުންނަށް ރައްކާތެރިކަމެއް ނެތްކަމެވެ. އަދި އެފަދަމީހުންނަށް ގަދަރު ނުކުރާކަމާއި ބަލައިނުގަންނަކަމެވެ. މީގެއިތުރުން، ވިސްލްބްލޯވަރުންނަށް އަދަބުލިބި، ނޭއްގާނި އަމަލު ހިންގި މީހުން، އެމީހުންގެ ކޮރަޕްޝަންގެ އަމަލުތަކާއިގެން ކުރިއަށް ދިޔުމަށް އެއްވެސް ހުރަހެއް ބިރުވެރިކަމެއްނެތި މަގުފަހިވެގެންދިޔަތަނެވެ.
ޓްރާންސްޕޭރަންސީ މޯލްޑިވްސް އިން ގަބޫލުކުރާ ގޮތުގައި ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގައި ވިސްލްބްލޯވަރުން ރައްކާތެރިކުރެވޭނެ ހަރުދަނާ ނިޒާމެއް ވަގުތުންވަގުތަށް ބޭނުންވެއެވެ.
View the press statement here
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.