Male, November 14 (The Edition): Transparency Maldives has issued a strongly worded condemnation of the presidential pardon granted to former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and former Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Abdulla Ziyath.
Both Adeeb and Ziyath were serving sentences for convictions in the MMPRC corruption case, before having been released under a presidential pardon granted yesterday by outgoing President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Transparency Maldives, in their statement, highlighted that the commutation of the sentences had been put in effect with only four days remaining in the current presidential term.
“This is not only an abuse of the clemency and sentence commutation powers of the President, but represents the epitome of the protection, impunity and privilege enjoyed by political elite who abuse their positions of power and influence,” the statement reads.
The civil society organization further said that despite President Solih having assumed power with a promise of “zero tolerance” towards corruption, the reality is that the administration has been protecting those implicit in corrupt activities, and have been greenlighting corruption.
They noted that of the 281 individuals implicated in the MMPRC corruption case, only three individuals have been convicted to date. The implicated individuals, however, include former and incumbent state officials, judges and parliamentarians amongst others.
Trasparency Maldives also condemned the failure to publish the report by the Commission on Corruption and State Asset Recovery, along with the lack of effort in recovering islands or obtaining fair acquisition values.
They went on to emphasize the lack of efforts to strengthen the laws and regulations; gaps in which continue to facilitate and protect acts of grand corruption.
“The commutation is a blatant betrayal of the principles that underpin a just and accountable society and undermine the efforts to combat corruption and kleptocracy,” they stated.
Adeeb and Ziyath were released under the Pardon and Sentence Reduction Act, in accordance with Article 115(s) of the Maldives Constitution, at the discretion of the President.