During the past weeks the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has received a report of a covert intelligence operation carried out within the Maldives and at various locations overseas. The investigation was carried out by an intelligence organization, and was based on direct interviews with current and former officials, and others associated with President Yameen’s regime. The aim of the investigation was to uncover evidence of money laundering and terrorist financing directly and indirectly associated with the current regime. In addition to individual sources, the dossier contains photographs, financial transaction records, detailed email exchanges proving impropriety and financial instruments such as cheques.
According to the information the MDP has received, the most recent documents are a result of analyses conducted on material found on former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s personal laptops. These have yielded a number of highly incriminating emails implicating two companies based in Singapore, a major regulatory body in the Maldives, and a number of named individuals.
The information received makes apparently credible allegations concerning the expropriation of public funds by or on behalf of regime officials; the siphoning of public funds for unlawful surveillance of political opponents and other unlawful political purposes; the making of corrupt payments to members of the judiciary; and the making of corrupt payments to politicians, police officers, businessmen and those involved in organized crime. Very substantial sums of money appear to have been delivered in cash by car to senior members of President Yameen’s regime.
Funds derived from the sale of island properties have also reportedly been diverted through the manipulation of sale prices. In one transaction a very substantial proportion of the money paid for the sale of public land was reportedly diverted for improper purposes. This would constitute the crimes of fraud, misconduct in public office and money laundering. One company in particular, which is already the subject of numerous anti corruption investigations is reportedly implicated in these transactions.
According to the report a private individual associated with the Yameen regime is alleged to task gangs to commit political crimes on behalf of the regime. Intelligence indicates that this individual has been directly involved in terrorist recruiting and financing related to the so-called Islamic State or ISIS. He has co-ordinated and funded more than 100 Maldivians to travel to Syria.
The information received indicates that these activities have been financed by the misappropriation of public funds. The report also indicates corrupt immigration officials have been used to facilitate travel by foreign fighters from the Maldives to Syria and to ensure that they are able to re-enter without the risk of arrest and prosecution.
At the same time, there has been a massive influx of unexplained funds, usually in cash, from unidentified sources in Saudi Arabia. Within the past 12 months it appears that sums totalling more that £500 million have been transferred in this way. To take just one example, £7 million in cash originating in the Gulf arrived in the Maldives by plane in the early part of 2015. The proceeds were unlawfully distributed as bribes among a group of officials associated with the regime that included politicians, judges, military figures, government officials and other public servants.
The report further alleges that Judges at every level have received and solicited bribes to influence their decisions – the clearest possible evidence of endemic corruption threatening any prospect of maintaining democracy, the rule of law and the separation of powers. For obvious reasons, the identity of the sources needs to remain confidential for the time being. The MDP has grave reason to believe that the people responsible for these crimes, which fracture the very integrity of the State in the Maldives, are violent and dangerous. They have important interests to protect, and will not hesitate to use violence to protect them.
The MDP is concerned over the allegations of a large number of individuals associated with regime, who come from all walks of public service (from the police and military, to the judiciary and senior politicians) appear to be working together in a single criminal conspiracy creating a haven for corruption, turning a nascent democracy into a industrial-scale kleptocracy.
Due to the serious nature of this information, the MDP understands that it has been shared with designated officials in the international community. The MDP further calls upon the Maldives Police Service and the Maldives National Defence Force to immediately launch a credible investigation into these allegations.