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POSTED AT 10:35 AM 15-02-2019

Maldives seeks whistleblowers

Magnificent Maldives.

THE MALDIVES: The Maldivian government urged its citizens to support its anti-corruption drive Wednesday after it launched a website to help trace millions of dollars reportedly stolen during the former regime.

The whistleblower site went live on Tuesday, days after the government sought international help to find millions of dollars allegedly siphoned off by former President Abdulla Yameen, who faces embezzlement and money laundering charges. Launching the portal, President Mohamed Ibrahim Solih called on government employees and ordinary citizens to anonymously lodge reports of corruption, an official in his office told AFP. “The campaign is to assure the community that his administration will not tolerate corruption at any level,” the official said. Users were encouraged to access the whistleblower site through proxy servers to ensure anonymity. Maldivian Police have said their investigations found evidence linking Yameen and his justice minister Azima Shakoor to the theft of state funds and money laundering.

In December, courts in the tourist paradise froze some $6.5 million in accounts allegedly linked to Yameen who suffered a shock defeat in elections in September.

The authorities believe millions of dollars could be stashed abroad and talks were underway with foreign entities to repatriate any cash found. Yameen, who came to power in 2013 and jailed many of his opponents or forced them into exile, has also been accused of receiving close to $1.5 million in illicit payments during his failed bid for re-election.

The country’s monetary authority lodged a police complaint over alleged donations made into a private account held by Yameen in the runup to the polls.

The former strongman president, who has been questioned but not detained, has denied the allegations. Yameen remains politically active. But since his downfall, almost all key dissidents have returned to the country and been cleared of convictions against them.