Emergency motion filed to take action on those who leaked ‘fake’ UTF agreement

Parliament Member of Alifushi constituency, Mohamed Rasheed Hussain | Photo: Majlis

Malé, Maldives – Alifushi constituency parliament member, Mohamed Rasheed Hussain has submitted an emergency motion to parliament calling the government to investigate and take action on those who had leaked a fake document which was supposedly a draft of the Uthuru Thilafalhu (UTF) development agreement with India.

The emergency motion stated to take action on those who leaked a fake document and also those who spread news of military personnel taking bribes to support the agreement. Speaking at parliament, MP Rasheed said that he had submitted the motion because the leaked document caused confusion within the general public and discredited the military of the country.

The Maldives Democratic Party’s parliamentarian also added that legal action needed to be taken against those who produced fake documents in order to create tension within the public and that it was the responsibility of the parliament and the government to prevent such actions.

The emergency motion comes while an emergency motion was filed to the Parliament on February 22, 2021 by MP of Naifaru constituency Ahmed Shiyam, in order to obtain details of the agreement made with the Indian government regarding the development of a naval harbour in Uthuru Thilafalhu.

Former Defence Minister and current MP of Maduvvari Constitueny Adam Shareef had also requested to the parliament on March 15, 2021 to have government share a copy of the actual Uthuru Thilafalhu (UTF) agreement with parliament comittee on national security services (241 committee).

MP Shareef had sent an official letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed this afternoon after an alleged draft of the UTF agreement was leaked on social media by Former Home Minister, Umar Naseer. 

In the letter sent by MP Shareef, he had requested Speaker of Parliament to arrange to get a copy of the real agreement to the 241 committee to ensure that the agreement did not implicate the sovereignty of the Maldives. MP Shareef is a member of the 241 committee. 

While Defence Ministry has stated the leaked documents to be fake, many people have raised their concerns on the terms of the leaked documents and have called the government to publish the actual agreement. 

Under the Uthuru Thilafalhu (UTF) Naval Base Harbour Project agreement between Maldives and India to build a coastguard harbor and dockyard in the country which was signed yesterday, India will be aiding Maldives in strengthening the Maldivian Coast Guard capability and facilitate regional HADR efforts.

According to the draft agreement, armed Indian forces would be stationed in the Uthuru Thilafalhu area for a period of 30 years, which is to be developed into a harbor and dockyard for the purposes of the Maldivian Coastguard. It also said that should either party not object, the agreement period would be extended by a period of additional 30 years.

While the opposition continues to claim that the agreement is real, the Maldives National Defense Force released a statement saying that the ministry would not do anything which would implicate the sovereignty and independence of Maldives and also requested not to disperse information which might implicate the relations with neighboring countries.

Addressing similar concerns at the time of signing the agreement during February, MNDF reassured the public that no armed personnel would be stationed at the site, detailing that it would only be used to dock and repair Coastguard vessels.