The Organized Crime and Corrupt Reporting Project (OCCRP) [official website] released materials [interactive website] on Tuesday detailing widespread corruption within the ranks of the Maldives government just days before a presidential election.
The reports allege that members of the Maldives government fraudulently conveyed at least 50 of the country’s tropical islands to foreign investors and pocketed much of the proceeds. President Abdulla Yameen [official profile] is accused of being involved in at least 24 of those deals. The report states :
The deals were carried out without public tender and were thus—according to the country’s former top auditor—illegal. The prices set for the leases ranged from mere hundreds of thousands to several million dollars apiece.
OCCRP, a global network of investigative journalists, compiled their materials using public records from the country’s internal tourism ministry as well as leaked documents, including phone messages directly implicating Yameen who faces a reelection bid on Sunday.
Yameen was elected in 2013 and his tenure as president has been marked by controversy and international condemnation. Earlier this year, Yameen refused to obey a Maldives Supreme Court order requiring the government to immediately release political prisoners. Instead, the government jailed several of the justices, reversed the order with those who remained, and eventually declared [JURIST report] a 45-day state of emergency after riots broke out in response.