Transparency International and Transparency Maldives urge all politicians and civil servants involved in the transition to the newly elected government to ensure that there are no secret deals to allow those connected to corruption to escape accountability.
Shortly before the 23 September election which ended President Abdulla Yameen’s presidency, investigative journalists working with the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) revealed that within a span of just 18 months, top level government officials leased out over 50 islands at a fraction of the original price and without a transparent bidding process to international and local businesses and embezzled the profits. Since the election, it has been reported that Yameen received US$1.5 million from an unknown source days before the election.
To ensure credibility in the handover process, Transparency International strongly recommends that all meetings taking place between the outgoing and incoming administrations be conducted in an open and transparent manner to avoid secret negotiations and political deals. Specifically, a public record of meetings with minutes should be kept, and press conferences should be held after each meeting.
“Transparent political transitions contribute to stable and transparent governments,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International. “Adopting a clear policy of transparency early on will fundamentally transform the way the new government of the Maldives works, and bolster due process, rule of law and accountability.”
“It would be unacceptable if anyone in the former administration negotiates their way out of facing the consequences of crimes committed in office,” said Mariyam Shiuna, Executive Director of Transparency Maldives. “The Maldivian people have had at least 80 million dollars stolen from them in the scheme documented in the recent reports. They deserve for the handover of power to be characterised by transparency and accountability, not by impunity and back-room deal-making.”
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