Al Jazeera has cancelled the premier of a new documentary which it claims would expose mass corruption and abuse of power in the Maldives.
Created by the Emmy and BAFTA winning Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, the documentary was set to be released on Tuesday at the Royal Society of Arts in London.
However, Mihaaru understands that the Doha based broadcaster had cancelled its premier for reasons yet unknown.
The invitation for the release of the documentary, titled ‘Stealing Paradise’ had been opened publicly.
The invitation card claims that “Al Jazeera has uncovered new evidence of corruption, theft and abuse of power. The award winning investigative team reveals how a president hijacked a nation and millions of dollars were stolen”.
The hugely anticipated documentary is believed to have been made on the largest embezzlement of state funds in the history of the tiny island nation which has been heavily linked to president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
An official audit report had revealed that over USD79 million had been embezzled through the state tourism promotion company.
Maldives Media and PR Corporation (MMPRC) had mediated the leasing of over 59 different tourist hotels, resorts and yacht marinas out of which 53 had been leased through an agreement with the tourism ministry.
The funds received by MMPRC was distributed through a private company.
Despite the cancellation of the premier, Al Jazeera is set to air the documentary on Sunday according to its TV guide.
Government supporters including ruling party lawmakers and top state officials have lept to the defence of president Yameen immediately after the invitation hit social networking sites.
President Yameen is facing intense pressure from a united opposition as it looks to oust him from office and form an interim government.
The Indian Ocean archipelago adopted multi-party democracy in 2008 after three decades of autocratic rule by Yameen’s half brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
But it has been gripped by turmoil since its first democratically-elected leader Mohamed Nasheed was toppled in 2012 in what he claims what was a coup.
Nasheed, whose jailing last year on terror charges has been widely criticised by the West, has since secured political asylum in Britain after travelling there for medical treatment while on prison leave.
The Criminal Court meanwhile has issued warrants for the arrest of Nasheed and former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who heads the opposition coalition.