The Maldivian Democratic Party is concerned by the statement released by the Saudi Embassy in Maldives, condoning the actions of the First Lady. The First Lady has been distributing packets of dates gifted by Saudi Arabia to the people of the Maldives, through a charity organisation she founded. The government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has been gifting the Maldives people dates for generations, and the relevant Government authority has always distributed the dates as such. However, this year, the gifts have been labelled as gifts from the foundation run by the First Lady, and have been stocked and distributed from a NGO roofed under President Yameen’s personal 2018 presidential campaign office.
The actions of the First Lady are an affront to the years of generosity by Saudi Arabia and as such the MDP is disappointed that Saudi Embassy would comment on this internal matter, and especially defend the First Lady’s corrupt actions.
The MDP would like to note that, as a Constitutional democracy, there are laws and regulations on the distribution of foreign aid and gifts, and the Saudi Embassy comments are seen as an encouragement of the First Lady’s actions contravening these Laws. Saudi Embassy comments, which are seen as an echo of the Maldives Government’s defence of these actions, come at a time when the Anti Corruption Commission of the Maldives has stated they will investigate the matter.
The MDP finds it very regrettable that this gift, to a fellow Muslim nation, on the holy month of Ramadan should be tarnished by the actions of the First Lady, and we are concerned that Saudi Embassy’s comments justifying these actions could taint the high regard the Maldivian people have always had for the Saudi Kingdom.
“This reeks of misuse of power and privilege. Saudi Government should be outraged rather than trying to cover up these shameful actions. Corruption, whether it is siphoning of state funds for personal use, money laundering, or seemingly as petty as stealing dates, should not be condoned,” said MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.