Maldives govt reassures investors after Al Jazeera expose

A screen grab of the Al Jazeera documentary “Stealing Paradise’ shows the web of top government officials and secret foreign businessmen who conspired to steal and launder millions of dollars from the state coffers.

A screen grab of the Al Jazeera documentary “Stealing Paradise’ shows the web of top government officials and secret foreign businessmen involved in the scandal to steal and launder millions of dollars from the state coffers.

Maldives government on Thursday moved to reassure foreign investors after an Al Jazeera documentary exposed unprecedented corruption and abuse of power in the tiny island nation.

Created by the Emmy and BAFTA winning Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, the documentary titled ‘Stealing Paradise’ contains leaked documents, text messages and recorded confessions that has blown the lid off corruption, thuggery and international money laundering in the island nation.

According to the Doha based broadcaster, the leak is the contents of three mobile phones which it says belonged to the now jailed former vice president and Jameel’s predecessor Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

The documentary accuses top government officials including incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom of orchestrating the theft of millions in state funds.

The programme had exposed evidence that ties the president to the largest corruption scandal in the country’s history, in which nearly USD80m of money raised from luxury resort leases was stolen.

The documentary also claims to have found evidence that ministers and aides have plotted to launder up to USD1.5bn through the South Asian nation’s central bank, with the help of secretive businessmen from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In a statement, the economic ministry lambasted the ‘baseless’ allegations as an attempt to diminish investor confidence in the Maldives.

“We strongly condemn all actions to disrepute the Maldives with false information and the continuing efforts to destabilize the Maldivian economy,” the statement read.

The ministry also noted the successful implementation of a plan to transform the economy and infrastructure since the government took office in 2013.

“The various measures introduced by the government, over the the past three years, have boosted foreign investment inflow and have generated new economic activities, creating new employment opportunities for our youth.”

The statement also insisted that the fundamentals of the economy remain strong and assured that it would continue to follow international best practices.

“We assure the public and the investor community that there are robust systems and mechanisms to support businesses and investments,” the ministry stressed.

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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