Maldives this week: 3 – 9 June

Foreign Minister gets elected as UNGA President, Youth and Sports Minister ordered to step aside from duties, defence-parliament row over intelligence inquiry, economic stimulus packages and potential state revenues from privatization...

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MFR Graphics

On 9 June, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) forwarded a case alleging corruption against Ministerof Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof for prosecution to the Prosecutor General's Office. The allegations against him are for accepting a bribe of USD33,000 in return for voting on the Special Economic Zone bill as well as for remaining with the Progressive Party of Maldives. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has ordered Mahloof step aside from his duties as Minister until a decision is made by the Prosecutor General's Office. 

On 8 June, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih held a press conference where, responding to media questions, he said that it was not the time for political upheaval and also responded to claims that he was obstructing a parliament inquiry into intelligence failures in the lead up to the 6 May terror attack targeting Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed. He also spoke on the establishment of an Indian consulate in Addu City, which decision he said the government was still discussing. On the issue of the Greater Malé Connectivity Bridge, financed through Indian credit and grants, the President said that a contractor will be selected in the next two weeks. 

On 7 Maldives, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid won the election for the Presidency of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, with 143 of the 191 votes cast. Shahid said he will remain as the Maldives' Foreign Minister as well. 

On 3 June, the Ministry of Defence informed the parliament that individual officers cannot be summoned for questioning for a parliamentary inquiry into intelligence lapses around the 6 May terror attack against Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed. Instead, it says it will respond as an institution. The parliament secretariat sent a request to the Prosecutor General's Office to press criminal charges against Deputy Minister of Defence Hassan Zameel for signing a letter, where it was clearly against the constitution. On 7 June, the Prosecutor General's Office returned the request, stating that charges cannot be filed unless an investigation was conducted and requested the parliament to first submit the case to the police. A Maldivian Democratic Party majority committee in parliament also rejected a motion proposed by Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed against Deputy Minister Zameel. 

Bank of Maldives signs $10 million loan with the OPEC Fund for International Development. The facility will be used to provide loans to the tourism sector and SMEs in related sectors impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 3 June, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail said the government was working on a stimulus package for small and medium enterprises to overcome the difficulties they were facing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The package is targeted s SMES such as salons, gymnasiums, cafes and restaurants. President Solih, in a press conference on 8 June, said that the SME Development Finance Corporation will be issuing additional credit to SMEs in June and July to overcome the economic challenges with the pandemic. 

On 8 June, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced extension of the restrictive measures in place in Malé until 15 July.  On 8 June, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will now be received in July. On 6 June, the HPA imposed additional restrictions on travel from Male to islands, banning travel except for essential needs. On 6 June, the Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) approved the Moderna and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in the Maldives, for people 18 years and above. On 3 June, Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem extended the state of public health emergency declared in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by another month, to expire on 3 July. On 2 June, the opposition coalition issued a statement criticising the government on its management of the COVID-19 pandemic. It said that government expenditure of MVR3.5 billion was not spent in ways beneficial for the public.

The United States announced its global COVID-19 vaccine sharing program, with Maldives among the recipient countries. On 3 June, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih thanked US President Biden and the US people for the donation. US also donates personal protective equipment and medical equipment. 

On 5 June, the Ministry of Health issues findings of its investigation into the death of a 10-year old due to COVID-19, where it admits negligence on the part of the health sector. It announced that a 24-hours outpatient facility will be established for COVID-19 patients in Male, as well as launching a separate emergency medical service.

The Ministry of Finance issues its Fiscal Risk Assessment, where it states that MVR2 billion will be raised over the next three years through privatization efforts. 

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology announced a virtual conference to be held on 23 June, to seek investors for the Maldives' energy sector. The conference will be held jointly with the World Bank and the International Solar Alliance. 

On 9 June the Maldivian parliament approved the appointment of Aminath Shauna as the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology. 



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