Ex-home minister unflappable in face of graft accusations

Former Home Minister Umar Naseer (L-2) beside President Yameen (R-2) at a ceremony. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU

Former Home Minister Umar Naseer (L-2) beside President Yameen (R-2) at a ceremony. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU

Former Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer on Monday refuted the state’s allegations of corruption involved in awarding the activities and events to celebrate the 50th Independence Day of the Maldives in 2015 during his tenure as minister.

Declaring that the accusations do not worry him as there was no corruption in any of the activities that were awarded for the Independence 50 events, Umar Naseer declared that the sudden allegations are meant to taint his candidacy for the Presidential Elections 2018.

Umar explained that representatives of the Anti-Corruption Commission and Audit Office were always present in the Independence 50 office which conducted the celebrations and events.

“They inspected our work daily. We’re the ones who requested the Anti-Corruption Commission and Audit Office to oversee the day-to-day work of the Independence 50 office. The documents are still in the home ministry,” he said, declaring that there is no reason that any corruption that was not found then can be found now.

The former home minister went on to say that the Independence 50 activities were awarded to various parties under a special written permission from the then Minister of Finance and Treasury Abdulla Jihad.

“Those documents are also out there. The money was released directly by the Finance Ministry; the budget section of the Home Ministry is aware of this,” he said, stating that the events were awarded via long procedures.

Umar noted that the Independence 50 activities were awarded under the supervision of a special committee of ministers which included the home minister, finance minister, defence minister, foreign minister, youth minister and minister of the President’s Office.

He asserted that he had never personally awarded any activities.

Umar defended himself following an urgent press conference at the home ministry early Monday during which incumbent Home Minister Azleen Ahmed accused that some activities of the Independence 50 celebrations had been awarded in violation of the Public Finance Act. The minister had declared that some events were awarded according to the wishes of the then home minister instead of via the Independence 50 special committee.

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