November 13th has been an eventful day in the Maldives, taking many by surprise following several political events. While people were busy checking updates on the Parliament of the Maldives making a mockery out of themselves with the no-confidence motion they have been trying to carry out against the Parliament Speaker and the Vice-Speaker, the President of the Maldives stole the spotlight at the end of the day, beating everyone at the game of shaking the nation. The President of the Maldives seems to have pardoned two figures best known for corruption within the Maldives.
The two names, 'Adheeb' and 'Ziyath,' have become well-known within the Maldives and internationally due to their involvement in one of the biggest corruption cases in the Maldives known as the 'MMPRC' corruption case. They are said to have been pardoned by the current president of the Maldives, who only has a few days left before the end of his term. Ahmed Adeeb, the former Vice-President, and Abdulla Ziyath, the former Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Officer (MMPRC), were both the face of the MMPRC scandal. The scandal famously involved USD 78 million of state funds being embezzled through MMPRC and other private companies, as well as the selling of islands and lagoons of the Maldives through the corporation.
While several people benefited from this case ongoing since 2014, the main faces of the case were sentenced after agreements and negotiations. Adeeb received a 20-year sentence, and Ziyath received a 32-year sentence. While justice was far from being served as many guilty parties still roam free, profiting from stealing from the state and selling off islands and lagoons, the biggest injustice in the case appears to be the masterminds behind the case getting away with embezzlement, receiving a 'royal' pardon from the President of the nation himself.
Though people all over the nation pay heavily for even the smallest crimes, individuals such as Ziyath and Adeeb appear to get the white-collar treatment even when it comes to jail sentences. Both parties served the entirety of their sentence under the current administration, in the comfort of their own homes. While the big names involved in the MMPRC scandal are admittedly getting away scot-free after embezzling a nation, it might be time to wonder if any politician is ever going to face time for the crimes they have committed.
Though such pardons are rare, when it comes to politicians who partake in backdoor dealings that land them in prison, it is nothing new for them to never serve even half of their sentence, as they all appear to easily flee the nation citing 'health issues' right after their sentencing.
Following the news surrounding the pardoning of the two biggest criminals of the MMPRC scandals, Transparency Maldives has issued a statement, condemning the pardoning by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who only has four days left of his administration.
In their statement, Transparency Maldives highlights some factors that would come to anyone's mind when it comes to the power play involved in this whole case. Politicians who should be serving hefty sentences for the crimes they have committed and been found guilty of get away with them due to the abuse of position and power that always comes into play.
In the statement, Transparency Maldives also highlights the blatant corruption in this case, reminding everyone involved, as well as the public, of the promises made by the current president as he came into power. He clearly stated that his administration would have zero tolerance when it comes to corruption. However, this is not the only case in this administration where corruption plays a large role in benefiting some parties while the whole nation takes the back seat.
With all the steps that this administration has taken with the vow of bettering the country, such as housing projects, often being filled with those in power and their family and friends benefiting from this administration, this is the final straw as the administration of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih plays one final hand of corruption before losing their power.
With the past five years of the administration, having reporters and the public constantly calling out the blatant corruption involved in their many acts, one can only wonder whether Solih and those within the administration who played their part in these acts would pay the price, or if they will be the next batch of politicians who will go free after all the neglect resulting in losing billions of state funds.