Saturday, April 18, 2009

Theemuge Audit Report


The latest in the 'time bomb' series of Auditor General's reports, this one on Presidential Palace Theemuge, confirms what we have known all along. Despite celebrating the diamond jubilee of constitutional rule in the Maldives, the concept of state property remains the same as it was during the era of absolute monarchy.

From time immemorial right up to this day, Maldivians believe that state property belongs to the ruler. Up to the dawn of 20th Century it was the King; afterwards it was the Prime Minister and finally now it's the President. The conviction runs so deep that despite the current Constitution requiring that presidential entitlements must be limited by law, such a law remains yet to be passed eight months into the Constitution.

Against this background, each year during the past 30 years, Presidential Palace budgets have been passed by the Majlis, each one larger than its predecessor. No member of the Majlis had ever dared to question the size of the budget or how it was spent. No wonder then that the Auditor General found what he found in Theemuge expenditure, some of the highlights of which are:

  • $ 17 million spent on construction of Theemuge;
  • Over 300 staff employed;
  • Rf 45 million spent on staff out of a total budget of 187 million;
  • 55 cars at the service of the Presidential Palace;
  • 11 plots of land dedicated for Theemuge in various parts of Male;
  • 4 houses in 4 regional airports for the President's personal use;
  • Presidential suites in Colombo and London High Commissions.

Auditor General has recommended that former President Gayoom be asked to repay what he spent on his extended family from Theemuge budget. This is likely to take us back in time to the first half of 20th Century, when Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri Kilegefaanu (former Prime Minister and Bodu Bandeyri) faced a similar predicament. He was supposed to have replied, "You know how these things are. We don't keep accounts here, so it's difficult to determine what's mine and what's the government's. Let's do one thing. I have three houses, Maabageechaage, Maafannuge and Athiree Maafannuge. I'll keep two; the government can have one, Athiree Maafannuge."

By a strange coincidence, the house that Kilegefaanu gave that day was today's Theemuge.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Maldivians will never improve.Always more interested in chasing shadows and getting revenge and not bothered about real development and progress to the country.What ever said and done the ruling party or groups will always accumulate illegal wealth and misuse their powers.This is nothing new and quite commonly seen in all societies and throughout history.Then there will be good for nothing nobodies who cry foul and give all big ideas about recovering the lost money etcc etcc.The funny thing is none of these people are of any real significance when it comes to national power deals.They die chasing wild dreams and are soon forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Maumoon must be ashamed of himself. How could he live in such luxury when just hundred yards away, ordinary maldivians were living in abject poverty 10 persons to a room?

Anonymous said...

may be gayoom was also a simple man to start with. the way he transformed into a selfish prowd despot at our expnse is a lesson for all. this must be never allowed.

Anonymous said...

this election stunt will not help MDP. people are tired of talking about past. do something good if you want support.

Anonymous said...

Good work auditor general. please carry on till maumoon and all drp people are fully defeated in majlis elections and atoll council elections. we are behind you.

Anonymous said...

Under the blue consitution or the previous one, no body has any right to ask the President about what he has done? and what he has not done? Therefore, it is just mere papers that the auditor general has brought. Maumoon needs not to pay any single sent to state. So there is no need to analyse and talk about the expenses of Theemuge. It was not spent without Majlis approval. Then there was no Maaliyath Qaanoon nor the green constitution. Yes the green consitution give people some sort of power. But the blue one gave power to the President. Ha ha.

Anonymous said...

Maumoon should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,if he has misappropriated any state funds.The Auditor General's Report makes extremely grave accusations against the former President and these need be fully investigated. If there are any vioaltions of the laws of the land,full justice will have to be meted out.No one, not even a former head of state,should be allowed to go scot free if he has done any wrong. He has to be held accountable for all of his misdeeds.This is what all democracy is about. Maumoon is quite clearly misleading the public by his saying that former leaders need to be well treated,respected,and given due priviledges and that no former leader faces charges of misappropriation, abuse of power and human rights vioaltions once he leaves office especially in a democracy. This is utter rubish. Take the recent case of Fujimoro of Peru, Astrada of the Phillipines, just to name a few. So let justice be done,even in the case of Maumoon, though the Heavens and the DRP fall.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous 10:17 PM... Your final comment "Ha ha" pretty well sums up the situation. that single word gives much more information than all the 1000s of words in the Auditor General's report. great!!

Anonymous said...

he was a very learned pious religious scholar, who new all the principles of Islam and gave religious lectures in ramazan. He wore expensive suites tailored in London. He was a kind hearted god fearing man. He sent all his relatives to singapore for treatment. Maldivians trusted him so much, especially old people people from the islands. he drove in expensive mercedes benz.

Anonymous said...

maumoon is an old man. leave him alone.

Anonymous said...

Maldivians are evil.Look at the number of druggies,paedophiles,murderers,thugs in high places etc working free on the street.And a government indulging in putting the blame and demonising on former president and a public insensitive to the killing of their innocents on the street.
I tell this is the most criminal and laziest humans on this Earth.One man cudnt have brought all of this.
Please dont accept this evil when they r gonna be washed in 50 years.

Anonymous said...

To anon 3:15, Maldivians are not evil. the evil people are the infidel shaitaans in america and israel, the Christians and the Juice.

Vaaf said...

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ (or words to that effect)

let there be a certain degree f justice for the sake of the sane few of us.

Anonymous said...

Auditor General,Maakun Naeem(former boy friend of Laila,the First Lady) is the bul-bul in the MDP garden where the Nooraani flowers bloom in abundance.He is the king of corruption(He benefited greatly when his first cousin Makun Sato siphoned off millions from MIFCO(then FPID) who is now trying to influence the general election so that he will be re-appointed by MDP majority Parliament.He is the guy who bribed members of Majlis Finance committee which determines his salary and allowances with trips to Singapore and other countries with Audit Office money(paying handsome amounts and perks) to these"honourable" members.
Nobody really takes him seriously now. Many people shrug these reports off as Auditor General's election season routine.
Makun Naeem has been seen many times with his MDP buddies recently. Now we know what they were up to.

Anonymous said...

You stil never mentioned the privilleges unfairly given to some ministers and colleagues of Gayoom. I bet they are as cruel as he himself for unlawfully acquiring wealth and other privilleges. Im sure Maumoons long serving Mnisters, all of them would have acquired illegal money some way or other. So in fact the whole regime has to take the blame for this. We cant just blame Maumoon and his wife and kids. What he has got is just a fraction of what he has allowed his friends and buddies to rip off. This is not a time bomb, but this is a piece of ground truthing which involved hard labour. This is part and parcel of democracy and rule of law. I would never vote for anyone who had any links with Maumoons, 30 year old regime. Im glad I came to know about it through this report.
I feel disgusting to see people like Seena Zahir and Ahmed Abdulla, Yamin, Abbas, Aneesa, Sheereen and many others still trying to show credibility in public. We may have no proofs yet on their atrocities, but the public have lost faith in all those who were loyal to Maumoon. In fact they are the real culprits behind this as they allowed Maumoon to carry on by being collaborators. This is just a suicide pact for all of their political career.

Anonymous said...

Maldivians loved gayoom so much. but he chose to stab them in the back. "Et Tu Brute"

Anonymous said...

And do you think you will see any of it back? Other than creating some kind of hate...that the auditor general can generate besides revenue, this and HIM must be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

The Auditor General's report is definitely one of the most controversial of his reports. One of points I note is his recommendation of Prosecution of the former President Maumoon.

I do not see any way Maumoon can be prosecuted for the issues raised in the Report. While Theemuge expenditure can be classified as exessive or unethical, it sure is within the legal frame work of that time!

For that matter our "Maaliyaathu Qanoon" still allows the President or the Minister to decide who is eligible for Government aid. While there is a short guideline, the final decision can be made by the President, full stop!

Another point is the AG's recommendation in each of the chapters. While he recommends prosecution and recovery of the expenses, in most chapters he has a recommendation to enact laws governing such expenses, which means that there are no laws to go against at the time.

A glaring point missing from the report was whether any funds were unaccounted for. Each and every laari has been accounted for, as per the allocated budget from the Majlis.

I do not believe the AG has any juristiction over expenses prior to 2007 April, and for the period after 2007 he has failed to show anything which Maumoon has spent illegaly. Unethical? Yes. Excessive? Sure. Against any law? No, there is no law!

So how do you prosecute him?