Al Jazeera moves up Maldives graft documentary air date

President Yameen looks on during the ceremony held to launch the land reclamation project for the new airport runway on July 25, 2016. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

President Yameen looks on during the ceremony held to launch the land reclamation project for the new airport runway on July 25, 2016. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

Al Jazeera has moved up the air date of the much anticipated documentary exposing mass corruption in the Maldives.

The Doha based broadcaster had originally planned to air the documentary on September 6 but has now moved the date to Sunday.

Created by the Emmy and BAFTA winning Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, the documentary would be released on Tuesday at the Royal Society of Arts in London.

According to the revised Al Jazeera TV guide, the documentary would be broadcast at 5pm local time on September 4.

The invitation for the release of the documentary, titled ‘Stealing Paradise’ has 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.

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 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”.

ACC had also questioned former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor over the transfer of funds linked to MPPRC to a private account of the president.

Adheeb was convicted and sentenced to eight years for misappropriating acquisition fees paid by a foreign company for the 50-year lease of a lagoon in the capital atoll.

President Yameen had been questioned by the ACC over a transaction that a company involved in the MMPRC scandal had made to his personal account in the Islamic Bank.

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.

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