Ignorance is bliss, political hypocrisy is euphoric

Member of Fonadhoo constituency Moosa Siraj seen with the current Prosecutor General Uz Hussain Shameem. Both of them represented Former Vice President of Maldives, Ahmed Adeeb (Bro) on the MMPRC case before | Photo: Avas Online

Maldivians have seen and navigated through rough seas, whether political, social or any other form of obstacle put before them, but last week has been so far one of the most bustling times the country has experienced.

While the Covid-19 situation has escalated almost out of control in the island nation, the whole country and the world was shaken by the IED explosion aimed at Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed on May 6, 2021.

Although the assassination attempt was unsuccessful, it has left Speaker Nasheed with major injuries and at the same time exposing many bottlenecks in the country’s intelligence and security agencies to which heavy public criticism has been aimed at.

While Maldives Police Service and Maldives National Defence Force had admitted that they had not gotten any credible and actionable intelligence regarding the attack, the pubic has started to question the quality of work done by both agencies in giving protection and security to the citizens of the Maldives compared to the amount of tax payer money being spent on them.

While such waves of calamities kept on crashed on the islands after the other, the cherry on top was the publicizing of the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal beneficiaries list by Joint Committee of Parliament consisting of the National Security Services committee (commonly known as 241 committee) and Judiciary committee.

While the list comprises of 281 names out of which 119 are current employees of the state in various positions, no one has acknowledged that they had received tainted money of the MMPRC corruption scandal which had looted away more than USD 70 Million – USD 79.37 Million to be exact, of state money.

One of the most interesting names which was on the list was of Kendhoo constituency’s Parliamentarian, Ali Hussain who has always been known to take politically reasonable stands against various issues in the country. He has been seen as someone who puts forth the interests of the general public before him. So how did he end up in this list of beneficiaries of the MMPRC scandal?

The answer is rather straightforward and simple, not to mention something everyone knows already. Ali Hussain, who is also a notable lawyer by profession in addition to being a Parliamentarian, was one of Ahmed Adeeb (Bro) legal team members back in early 2014 before the MMPRC corruption scandal was revealed by infamous whistleblower of the case, Gasim Abdul Kareem in 2015.

Former Vice President Adeeb who was well known as “Bro” and was the most influential Minister during the previous administration who rose within the political ranks to be Vice President of the Maldives after an orchestrated no confidence vote of the then Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who is now again back in the opposition PPM as an advisor

The most hypocritical point which was noticed by having MP Ali Hussain’s name in this list for receiving MMPRC money for his legal works done for Ahmed Adeeb before the whole MMPRC case was exposed, was that the names of two most prominent lawyers of Maldives who defended Ahmed Adeeb in the MMPRC trial were not included in the list for receiving MMPRC corruption scandals’ tainted black money.

Those two being the current Prosecutor General, Hussain Shameem and Fonadhoo constituency Parliamentarian, Moosa Siraj, who was also a member of the Joint Committee of Parliament consisting of the National Security Services Committee (commonly known as 241 committee) and Judiciary Committee which had released the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal beneficiaries list.

The question is, while Ali Hussain, who was Ahmed Adeeb’s lawyer before the case was exposed was implicated in this list for receiving – knowingly or unknowingly, corruption money from Adeeb for his legal services, why wasn’t PG Shameem and MP Moosa Siraj’s names not included in this list while both of them represented Adeeb after the MMPRC case was exposed.

Did Adeeb pay them from a separate account he had for ‘halal’ money from which he had paid PG Shameem and MP Siraj or is President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s government which came to power with the promise of recovering the MMPRC money and brining everyone involved in front of justice, just going to turn a blind eye on this and let this pass by because both of them are from the same political ideologies?

It is also worth to note that before the MMPRC beneficiaries list was published, it was also speculated that Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leaders were implicated in the case. According to leaked documents on social media, Chairperson of MDP, Hassan Latheef, Vice President of MDP, Mohamed Shifaz and Parliamentary Group leader, Ali Azim have taken money from the MMPRC case for various political reasons.

In addition to this, PG Shameem was also speculated to have been in the initial lists. While the MDP super majority parliament released the list, many people have been questioning the authenticity and reliability of this list as high level MDP leaders name was not in the final list published.

While we all question on the accuracy of the lists and if the public can trust President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Maldivian Democratic Party to be able to fully investigate this matter without any bias, it is obvious that PG Shameem and MP Moosa Siraj’s names should have been in this list.

It is also hypocritical for both of them to sit in positions where the matter is being investigated as well. For PG Shameem to be the head of the institution which is to represent the state against the case and for MP Siraj to sit in the parliament committees which is looking in to MMPRC matter, it is nothing short of a slap on the public’s face by both President Solih and MDP.

As the saying goes, ignorance is bliss, and both PG Shameem and MP Moosa Siraj seem to be enjoying their time in this politically hypocritical euphoria in which they both are lost in, along with other higher ups of this administration.

As concerned citizens of this nation, we all question if the government, President Solih, MDP, Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and others have any pure intention of truly investigating the MMPRC case. The public also asks the following.

Is releasing a ‘half baked’ list based on the testimony of Ahmed Adeeb alone enough to keep people thinking that government is doing something about this case? Does releasing the half baked list get the public’s money back in to the government accounts? Does keeping Ahmed Adeeb, Abdulla Ziyath and Abdulla Yameen Abdul Qayoom at home arrest ensure that those who are implicated in the case are brought to justice?