Speaker: Administration overthrown the day of scheduled release of illegal fuel trade report

Then-Vice President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik (C) pictured beside then-President Mohamed Nasheed (R).

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed, on Wednesday, said his administration was overthrow the same day it was scheduled to release a report on the funds believed to be embezzled in the illegal fuel trade run by STO Maldives Singapore Private Limited.

He made the remark during the debate on a motion submitted by West Maafannu MP Mohamed Falah, who alleges that former President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik covered up the report after he came to power.

Falah said in his motion that STO Maldives Singapore Private Limited, registered in Singapore as a 100 percent STO owned company in 1997, engaged in illegal fuel trade and money laundering activities in which a large sum of money was funneled from the State. He said that an international accounting firm was hired on June 8, 2010 to trace the missing funds and compile a report on its finding, which was to be used to recover the funds through the international justice system, but that Dr. Waheed, halted the process after he came to power in 2012.

Falah alleges that Dr. Waheed, in his attempt to stop the process, obtained the report from the accounting firm and covered up the report.

 Nasheed said that his administration, after it came to power in 2008, hired an international firm to investigate the illegal activities run during the previous administration the next year, in 2009.

He said that the agreement between his administration and the international firm was that the firm would conduct the work free of charge and would receive 10 percent of the funds it successfully recovers.

The agreement was also that the State will pay USD 10 million if the contracted work is halted in any other way, he said.

“When we made this agreement with this party, I wondered, who would try to halt the work. We were talking about a USD 10 million penalty if it was halted,” said Nasheed.

Nasheed said his administration had great expectations when it hired the firm, because it involved a possible USD 800 million in illegal fuel trade.

He said the matter came to his administration’s attention due to high volume of fuel exports when compared to the lower volumes of imports.

“The administration at that time signed a contract to investigate that. The truth is, February 7 was the day the report was scheduled to be released,” he said.

Dr. Waheed had served as Maldivian President from February 7, 2012 to November 12, 2013, following the disputed resignation of Nasheed, under whom Dr. Waheed served as Vice President. MDP continues to assert that Nasheed had been unseated in a coup d’état, and that Dr. Waheed had been involved in the plot.