Monday, August 22, 2005

Exploitation has supplanted interest in the common good.

According to Article 58 of the Constitution, the Cabinet assists the President in formulating government policy on important national and international matters. The Cabinet advises the President on economic and social development. The Cabinet also assist the President in the formulation of the annual state budget and Government Bills to be submitted to the People's Majlis and the ratification of international treaties and agreements signed by the Government of the Maldives with foreign governments.

Gasim Ibrahim is the Finance Minister now. With the finance portfolio, Gasim has been appointed the Governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority. As the head of the central bank he will now head the board of the MMA which determines the nation’s monetary and exchange rate policy. Gasim’s financial empire range from holiday resorts, oil and gas, shipping and fishing, import and export and is financed by huge costly loans running to the tune of many hundreds of millions of dollars. A large part of his loans are from the Bank of Maldives. He also owes money abroad to institutions like the (IFC) International Finance Corporation. Many of these international loans are purportedly underwritten by the Government of the Maldives.

When Gasim advises the President on economic and social development will he forget his Vilaa Group? What will happen to the peoples finances when and if Gasim uses the power of his position for his personal gain?

Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is Mr. Ibrahim Rafeeq the owner of Rainbow. Mr. Rafeeq is one of the largest businessmen in construction industry. Now that the owner of Rainbow is also the Minister?

The Minister of Construction and Public Infrastructure is Mohamed Mauroof Jameel. He is the owner of a design and construction company called Gedor. will his company have an advantages when they take part in the “bidding process”?

Another minister is a real estate tycoon. Another is a newspaper magnate. And so on……

Most of the Cabinet Ministers are actually big businessmen. Their public office is a secondary job, taken only to enable them access to power to advance their businesses. This is no secret. Everybody knows. No wonder we are hearing about Dracula and the Blood Bank.

We need to draft laws so that Government officials declare their wealth and assets before they take on these job appointments and they must also be audited constantly, and on their departure from office.
However we are a long way from such laws as the Parliament itself is dominated by big business. This will remain so until people are affluent enough not to sell their vote for a few rufiyaas.


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