MUO Reiterates Matters of Concern for Investors

The Maldives United Opposition reiterates rising concerns over foreign companies investing in Maldives at a time when the integrity and independence of all related institutions are being jeopardized with the country’s political situation in chaos.

It has been made apparent from recent reports of fact finding missions of international institutions such as the UN, the EU and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), that presently the Maldives is in a state of degradation of Constitutionalism and the rule of law; of judicial tyranny, overreach and interventionism; and beset by alarming and continued allegations of high corruption with the involvement of the head of state, cabinet colleagues and cronies.  Rising incidents of human rights violations with impunity signify rampant lawlessness, often with the collusion of Police and other state authorities.

It is also alarming that presently foreign Investments are being made without proper due diligence, transparency, in violations of existing laws and under controversial circumstances. Allegations of foreign companies clinching multi-million dollar deals through bribes are widespread, with little or no subcontracting to Maldivian companies, leading on to the disdain of local communities.

Allegations of bribes to parliamentarians and other public officials are being investigated even from within the ruling party the PPM, with its leader expressly stating that the conduct of MPs and government officials would be scrutinized through a systematic reform agenda published by its leader former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Meanwhile there are growing calls to investigate President Abdulla Yameen for alleged connections to the Maldives’ biggest ever corruption scandal. More than US$205million received by state agency, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC), was unlawfully distributed to some MPs, known regime cronies and the President himself.

Many transactions are said to involve the sale and leases of Maldivian islands, and the allowance of foreign free-holds on Maldivian land and lagoons. Land is a scarce resource and the Maldivian people are opposed to the sale and long term leases of Maldivian land without proper environment impact assessments, due diligence, and transparency. However the President recently ratified a Law passed by the government’s coopted majority in parliament for the lease without public notice and a fair bidding process of Maldivian islands, lagoons and land.

As these are matters of high and continuing concern, it is only pertinent that controversial foreign investments being made presently would be thoroughly reviewed by any interim administration and/or governments thereafter, leading on to possible reversals, eventual damages to reputation, bad publicity and even to prosecution later.

We appeal to convey our concerns to necessary stake-holders and take measures to prevent dubious and questionable investments that may lead on to exhaustive reviews, investigations, reversals, unforeseen losses and disruptions to goodwill. (Issued as Letter to Diplomats, NGOs and Foreign Media on 13 July 2016)