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Maldivians asked to report on possible graft of prior gov’t

FILE- In this Feb. 3, 2018, file photo, Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, center, surrounded by his body guards arrives to address his supporters in Male, Maldives. The Maldives' government has asked citizens to report information regarding allegations of corruption and abuse of power during the tenure of the strongman leader defeated in elections last year. The request, in a statement from the president's office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, came a day after police questioned Gayoom over alleged illegal financial transactions for a third time. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sharuhaan, File)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The Maldives’ government has asked citizens to report information regarding allegations of corruption and abuse of power during the tenure of the strongman leader defeated in elections last year.

The request, in a statement from the president’s office on Wednesday, came a day after police questioned former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom over alleged illegal financial transactions for a third time.

The statement said information on cases of corruption and abuse of power within state institutions from Jan. 1, 2012, to Nov. 17, 2018, could be reported via written submission to the Presidential Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery. Yameen was president for most of that period. Submissions should be made before Feb. 24.

The commission was established by new President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih when he assumed office in November, in keeping with his electoral pledge of a clean government and to investigate alleged misdeeds of Yameen’s administration. Solih defeated Yameen in elections in September.

Yameen’s tenure from 2013 to 2018 was marked with allegations of misrule, corruption and human rights violations.

Police have previously said that they found transactions of big sums of money through accounts opened by Yameen over five years of his presidency and said accounts with nearly $6.5 million in both U.S. dollars and Maldivian currency had been frozen pending further investigations.

Police questioned Yameen over the weekend for a second time. After the interrogation, Yameen said police did not accuse him of any crime.

Yameen said police questioned him over cash received ahead of the September election and complaints that $1 million linked to a financial scam allegedly were found in his account. He said the $1 million allegedly linked to a $79 million fraud had already been investigated and that he asked police to get the details from the Anti-Corruption Commission.

He said the money he received ahead of the election was deposited into his lawfully declared campaign accounts.

Yameen has insisted that police questioned him only over the investigation, but has not specified whether he was accused of any wrongdoing.

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