Ibu to possibly seek FBI’s help to trace missing funds

President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu) during an exclusive interview to 'Sun'. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu) is considering seeking assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the to help trace missing State funds, says sources.

Los Angeles Times published an article last Tuesday, in which it cited sources saying incoming Maldivian administration may consider seeking assistance from FBI and other US agencies to help trace missing State funds and uncover details of the contracts awarded to foreign companies for projects in Maldives.

LA Times reports that a senior official at the US State Department said the US government was open to lending help to Maldives “in any way”.

Ibu, after his election victory, met with Chinese Ambassador to Maldives and discovered that the Maldives now owes China nearly USD 3 billion, double the previously estimated USD 1.5 billion, reports the newspaper.

The newspaper also cited a foreign official saying that Chinese companies have leased at least seven Maldivian islands. And that at least one of the seven islands was leased below market value at USD 4 million for 50 years.

“We have to find out exactly what happened, because nobody really knows,” reported former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Naseem, to LA Times. “It’s a huge amount of money, and we need China’s help to get to the bottom of it.”

Chinese companies were contracted to run multiple infrastructure development projects during outgoing President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration; including the Sina-Male’ Bridge between Male’ City and Hulhumale’, apartments under the Hiyaa Housing Project, and several developments to the national airport – Velana International Airport.