Tsunami Aid Money Controversy in Maldives
Minivan News reports that Commander Michael Lord-Castle, the head of Global Protection Committee (GPC) said that GPC has received information that President Gayoom of Maldives has transferred up to $80 million into private offshore bank accounts.
"We have been advised that between US$60 to $80 million have been transferred from Maldives Governmental funds directly to various private bank accounts in favour of President Gayoom. Some of those funds we understand derive from donations made in respect to the tsunami disaster."
That allegation appears to have infuriated the government, which is sensitive to accusations of corruption, particularly if involving foreign aid.
Lord Castle said his organisation was continuing to investigate the alleged money transfers and would present a report to the European Parliament shortly.
GPC was in Maldives to observe a demonstration Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) was planning for November 10th. Some members of the GPC team, including Lord-Castle, were deported by the government. MDP had canceled the demonstration following a crackdown by the government.
The government has reacted to this accusation saying there is no government money in the private accounts of Gayoom. A report by Haveeru Daily in Dhivehi says President's Office has issued a statement on 18 November in which Chief Government Spokesperson Mohamed Hussain Shareef said that a special Board has been formed in 2005 to ensure that tsunami aid money is audited according to international standards and to monitor the accounts in which the aid money is deposited. The statement said members of the Board would know all details of the tsunami aid money.