Al Jazeera expose must prompt police probe

A screen grab of the Al Jazeera documentary "Stealing Paradise' shows former Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim.

A screen grab of the Al Jazeera documentary “Stealing Paradise’ shows former Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim.

Police have been long accused of politicization and corruption. Even president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has publicly admitted the alarming level of corruption that has plagued the Maldives Police Service, sworn to protect and serve.

However, the Al Jazeera documentary has laid bare shocking new evidence that suggests that police were being used to carry out state sponsored terrorism.

Created by the Emmy and BAFTA winning Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, the documentary titled ‘Stealing Paradise’ contains leaked documents and text messages derived from three mobile phones which belonged to the now jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

The evidence uncovered by Al Jazeera showed that Adheeb had conspired with the police to silence the then Auditor General who had spearheaded the audit report into the largest embezzlement of state funds in the country’s history told Al Jazeera that he had shared the information directly with president Yameen.

“You guys need to focus on this auditor general,” Adheeb says in a text message to one of the SO officers.

“No worries,” a police special operations named Abdulla Didi replies.

Then quite alarmingly the ex-VP suggests to “light up” the Auditor General’s office which employs over 200 staff as “he is continuously making trouble for us.”

However, a second police officer quickly highlights the risk.

A screen grab of the Al Jazeera documentary 'Stealing Paradise' shows an alleged text message sent by former vice president Adheeb to a SO police officer.

A screen grab of the Al Jazeera documentary ‘Stealing Paradise’ shows an alleged text message sent by former vice president Adheeb to a SO police officer.

“We checked that place. Lots of camera[s] everywhere,” an officer named Saif Hussain says.

But the ex-vice president was adamant and insists that Niyaz must be stopped.

“Ok. But need to blast it at any cost,” Adheeb replies in another text message.

“Sure. Lets do it,” was Hussain’s reply.

The revelation has left most people in utter shock and disbelief.

For most people, its still difficult to digest that police would stoop to such lengths.

The more disturbing fact that remains is, a week after the Doha based broadcaster released the documentary, police are yet to officially comment on the allegations.

Former police commission Abdulla Riyaz insists that police must be forthcoming.

“They must launch an extensive investigation and keep the public informed of its findings, the now Kinbidhoo MP added.

But the former police chief still believes that the police can still regain and restore public confidence.

“I don’t believe that the entire police service is corrupt. Such things are done by a few yet influential people high up the pecking order,” Riyaz added.

Protesters confront police as the parliament passed the contentious defamation bill on Tuesday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Protesters confront police as the parliament passed the contentious defamation bill on Tuesday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

According to text messages and secretly filmed confessions included in the documentary, president  Yameen, through his former deputy had siphoned off millions in state funds, hijacked state institutions and bribed state officials including judges, lawyers and parliamentarians to exert his authoritarian power over the whole country.

Former aides of the now jailed ex-VP Adheeb had gone on record to say that they had personally delivered “bags of cash” to the president himself.

Maldives government have denied the allegations, labeling the documentary as biased and in pursuance of an already declared agenda against the government.

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