Male [Maldives], August 2 (ANI): Ex-President Abdulla Yameen had visited places like Singapore and Malaysia, acting not as a President of Maldives, but as a land broker, dealing with foreign hoteliers and business tycoons, a media report said.
During his tenure from 2014-2018 as Maldives President, he made a total of 11 visits to Singapore. Out of the 11 visits, only 3 are noted to have been official trips, the other 8 visits were purely personal and he would mostly seek to avoid giving reasons behind the trip, reported Maldives Voice.
During 2014 alone, he made a total of 6 trips. The then opposition party MDP felt the need to pry into these continuous visits because it was not transparent enough if these personal getaways from the paradise were made using transactions from state income and hence demanded the reasons behind the President's absence from office.
More than 50 island plots were leased illegally without any acquisition fees during the era of Yameen and his brother Ahmed Adeeb. Also, contracts were awarded to companies without any bidding process, which is also illegal, reported Maldives Voice.
Out of so many questionable deals, Yameen is only being probed for one i.e, Aarah, because of a lack of evidence in other cases. According to the asset recovery committee Govt has lost USD 128 million due to low acquisition costs of 60 islands leased by the Yameen Govt.
One such deal made by the government in March 2016, shows major red flags and possibilities that it was carried out in a corrupt manner.
The USD140 million deal for the new IGMH tower was awarded to Singapore's Chang Hua without an open bidding process. Malaysia's WZR Group, awarded the USD122million deal for the office tower, was among three companies shortlisted by the ministry's tender board. Then finance minister Abdulla Jihad signed off on the contract, reported Maldives Voice.
He then left for Malaysia three months after the signing. Around that same time, in August of 2016, Yameen left the Maldives for Singapore on an unannounced visit.
During 2014 and 2015, a similar unfolding of events between the brothers Yameen and Adeeb -- it was seen that both of them would be away from their offices visiting Singapore/Malaysia during the same course of time, reported Maldives Voice.
Singapore-based billionaire Ong Beng Seng apparently showered Adeeb, his family, and Abdulla Yameen with stays at luxury hotels in Singapore.
Ong apparently met personally with both Yameen and Adeeb, and the company dealt directly with the tourism minister when negotiating the deal. This is how he ended up leasing one island for just USD5 million, while another island was leased out for free.
Even after the islands were secured, Ong continued to show hospitality to the Maldivian politicians.
During the Grand Prix event, both men were in Singapore for the same event. It reported that while Adeeb attended as a guest of Ong, Yameen and his wife's visit to the country was on the formal invitation of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee, reported Maldives Voice. (ANI)