Skip to main content

#Maldives: #Canarygate - Nasheed's Israeli Connection, Ismail Saadiq, lobbying to pressure the US?

Male', Maldives.
The Canarygate Scandal of political corruption, obstruction of justice and abuse of power which led to Mohamed Nasheed's resignation as President, yesterday entered a new dimension as Nasheed's Israeli connection was revealed to be Ismail Saadiq, of the FPID and 7/11 corruption scandals in the 1990s. Ismail Saadiq, at Nasheed's request, visited Israel after Nasheed's resignation, in a bid to secure Israeli support for Nasheed's come-back bid. Sources close to Nasheed report that Saadiq's visit was to request Israel to pressure the US to support Nasheed's call for an early election. Saadiq and Nasheed's ex-Chief of Staff, Ahmed Mausoom, were in the process of setting up a joint venture for supplying STO Maldives with Israeli oil when Nasheed resigned on February 7th.

Saadiq, a Maldivian trader engaged in various corrupt activities, first leapt to local prominence in the late 1970s when he spilled the beans on Kandi Ahmed Maniku's (Fisheries Deputy Minister at the time) links to Bayard Shipping Pvt. Ltd. Kandi, husband of Ibrahim Nasir's Health Minister Moomina Haleem, had issued fishing rights to Bayard, a company based in Thailand in which he had shares. Saadiq had been employed by Kandi to run Bayard's business activities in Maldives.

With the regime change, Saadiq negotiated a protection deal with Abbas Ibrahim (new President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's brother in law), under which he spilled the beans on Kan'di. The ensuring scandal, termed "Sale of the Oceans" by Maldivians got Kan'di into major trouble with the authorities. Kan'di retaliated with death threats against Saadiq, upon which Abbas Ibrahim arranged Saadiq's transfer through Saadiq's classmate Koli Ali Maniku to Malship in Thailand.

Saadiq operated in Thailand under a self appointed title of "Maldives Trade Representative", borrowing from Thailand and lending to Maldivians. During this time, he got entangled with Ilyas Ibrahim (Gayoom's brother in law) who used Saadiq to strike corrupt deals with Thai canneries. Tuna sent from Maldives was under weighed, classified as reject and under paid on official invoices, with the balance payment being pocketed by Ilyas Ibrahim, Abdul Sattar (Sato, who was married to MDP MP Mariya Didi at the time) and Ismail Saadiq. Saadiq fell out with Ilyas when Ilyas refused to include him in other deals, opting quickly to sell out Ilyas and Sato to the Gayoom government just as he had sold Kan'di and Bayard.

After hiding the huge earnings he had pocketed from the tuna deals, Saadiq negotiated with his drinking buddy Fathullah Jameel (then Foreign Minister in Gayoom's Cabinet) to provide evidence on corrupt dealings related to the Felivaru Project Implementation Department (FPID) run by Ilyas Ibrahim. Saadiq, the eldest son of Gayoom's personal secrtary at the time, Muringu Mohamed Saadiq (a Th. Thimarafushi citizen) was given immunity and protection by Gayoom, a second time. The deal with Saadiq was brokered by Fathullah Jameeh and Gayoom's Executive Secretary Abdul Rasheed Hussain.

The deal that was offered to Saadiq was immunity from legal proceedings related to the FPID scandal and protection in return for inside information on FPID graft deals. Known as the FPID Scandal, the scandal was publicized as corruption and graft by Ilyas and Sato, with Saadiq's key role hidden from the public eye. Saadiq's report enabled Gayoom to initiate an investigation in the issue, and to contain Ilyas Ibrahim who was gaining business support for a bid for the Presidency.

Granted immunity from prosecution by Gayoom for providing critical evidence against political opponent Ilyas Ibrahim, Sodiq continued to live in style in Thailand. Amidst fears of retaliation by supporters of Ilyas, Saadiq married a Thai waitress (Jung) from the cafe across his apartment in Dusit Thani, to gain Thai citizenship and protection. Dusit Thani housed Saadiq's apartment as well as Koli Ali Maniku's Malship offices in Thailand.

In what became his most successful years, Saadiq quickly became the agent for major Maldivian businessmen, including Gayoom's step brother Abdulla Yaameen and resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim. He is reported to have brokered several business deals and secured loans for Yaameen's business partners and for Gasim Ibrahim.

One such business arrangement was the 7/11 chain of shops in Maldives, in which Yaameen (then Trade Minister) was alleged to have a share in. The 7/11 chain gained political clout by offering high credit to businesses in return for their political support.

Saadiq's fallout with Gayoom came when Ilyas Ibrahim was pardoned and allowed to quietly return home. Ilyas quickly moved to avenge himself on Saadiq by busting Saadiq's 7/11 operation by bringing the illegal use of the 7/11 concept to the franchise owners. Saadiq had been importing millions of dollars of goods into Maldives under the 7/11 name without paying customs duties. The customs graft was exposed by Ilyas supporters, leading the Maldives Customs to report the issue to the 7/11 franchise. The franchise owners denied issuing any franchise permit to a Maldivian, and took up legal proceedings against Saadiq in Maldives. When the issue was taken up with Maldivian Trade Ministry by the franchise owners, Yaameen cancelled Saadiq's business registration in an attempt to extricate himself from the scandal.

Before Saadiq could flee, 7/11 began legal proceedings against him, leading to his arrest by the authorities. He was held in custody for several months, during which time he gained international fame through successful appeals to Amnesty International. Conveniently overlooked were Saadiq's customs violations and graft deals. In September 200, Saadiq paid off NSS officials to stage a successful escape while in Thailand, supposedly to visit a daughter who was sick.

Although now an anti-Gayoom campaigner, Saadiq's friendship with Fathulla Jameel continued, who facilitated links to Maldivian students in UK through Fathulla's stooge, Ahmed Shafeeq (DO Sappe'). Saadiq was the front for Jameel's attempts to gain supremacy over Ilyas in the stakes for successor to Gayoom. Fathulla encouraged Saadiq to attempt to register a fisherman's political party in 1993, purportedly to contest upcoming parliamentary elections.

Saadiq continued with his underground business operations in Asia, borrowing from Thai parties in shady deals, before coming to the attention of Singapore authorities with the 'Artis Sky" case. With Thai debtors gunning for his life, and with his involvement in illegal business activities in Bangkok also coming to light through Interpol investigations instigated by Maldives, Saadiq fled to the US (Dallas) where he staged his own death in the late 1990s. The whole Saadiq family was flown over for the fake funeral.

In the meantime, Saadiq continued to run his underground operations from the US and Thailand, gaining leverage withing the newly formed Maldives Democratic Party through DO Sappe' and his business partner Ahmed Mausoom. Mausoom first controlled all financial affairs in the Nasheed regime as Finance Secretary at the President's Office, ascending to the post of Chief of Staff in 2011, a Cabinet level rank in the Nasheed administration. The Chief of Staff's job was to manage all funds, some of which were leveraged by Saadiq through various deals with foreign companies and governments.

Inside sources say that Saadiq played a key role on leveraging international funds for Nasheed's election campaign. He is also acknowledged to be Nasheed's intermediary for government to government negotiations.

Mausoom, a fellow investor in the Lintel group together with Nasheed's Finance Minister Ali Hashim, ran the many graft deals which saw MDP leaders such as MDP Interim leader Reeko Moosa Maniku and Home Minister Hassan Afeef being awarded massive contracts without any bidding process. Mausoom was a founding member of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) who joined Nasheed in UK in 2000.

Saadiq is reported to have a joint venture business with an Israeli for oil supply. At the time of Nasheed's resignation, Saadiq and Mausoom were negotiating with STO Maldives for Saadiq and his Israeli partner to supply STO with fuel.

Sources close to Nasheed say that Saadiq's visit to Israel after Nasheed's resignation was to pledge Nasheed's support and assistance for Israeli Mossad's work to control what they term the rise of islamist fundamentalism in Maldives.

On February 13, 2012, Saadiq, commented on Israeli paper Haaretz, "New Maldives government to ban all trade and investments with Israel. Will refuse Israeli airlines to land in the Maldives and considering to deny all jewish tourists to visit the country. The religious extremists are succeeding to push Maldives into further isolation."

Flush from his corrupt deals, Saadiq, while reportedly "dead", lives in style in the US and maintains a presence on Maldivian social networks under the fake ID, John Prescott. Saadiq's whole family live with him in the US, except a brother who works at Medianet in Male'.

Popular posts from this blog

#Maldives: 24 years after Nov 3 massacre: Are the terrorists back masquerading as a political party? Part 1

#Maldives: November 3rd, 2012 marks the 24th anniversary of the bloody massacre that left the blackest of stains on Maldivian hearts and history. Nineteen innocent Maldivians were slaughtered and several injured. Hundreds were held at gunpoint for hours, many later taken away as hostages. Immense damage was given to public and private property. Maldives was rescued by troops sent by Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi. The leader of the failed coup was a man called Sikka Ahmed Ismail Maniku, a man who had previous convictions for coup attempts against previous governments. The coup leader's nephew, Mohamed Nasheed, was installed as President in 2008, at the head of a political party whose top leadership comprised of family members and others involved in the 1988 November 3 massacre.

Nasheed's cabinet, senior political advisors and state ministers included terrorists convicted for their involvement in the November 3 massacre. As Nasheed denounces the current government of Dr. Mohamed W…

#Maldives: A Victim of Indian Foreign Policy? Nov 3, 1988 terrorist attack and GMR in perspective.

#Maldives: As November 3, 2012, the 24th anniversary of the terrorist attack on Maldives approaches, public sentiment against the Indian multinational GMR's lease of the Maldives' international airport has gained momentum. Inflammatory speeches by local politicians and local media reports associate the GMR-MACL lease agreement on a scale with the November 3rd 1988 terrorist attack. The 1988 terror attack was by a group of Maldivians headed by Sikka Ahmed Ismail Maniku (uncle of former President Nasheed) who brought 80 Tamil mercenaries to overthrow the government of the time. India's role then was that of the knight in shining armor, the Indian military and navy charging to the rescue in Operation Cactus. Nineteen people were killed in the terror attack.

Amidst the increasingly strident calls on the Maldivian Government to "throw GMR out" and to recapture the "Maldivians' airport for Maldivians", Maldivian commentators on social media question the I…

The Quality of Political Appointees in the Nasheed Administration

As almost seven months pass since President Mohamed Nasheed took power in the Maldives, Maldivian citizens despair of ever seeing the much promised improvements in their livelihoods. The state treasury has been exhausted within this brief period, and the economy has declined to an extent worse than the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Escalating price of consumer goods, collapse of social services, increasing food insecurity and declining real income have thrown more people below the poverty line. While President Nasheed is engrossed in his hate and persecution campaign against political opponents, his government has ground to a halt.

The Nasheed administration came into power promising reduced expenditures, increased government revenue and a clamp down on corruption in top government circles. President Nasheed’s first budget (2009) has a 7 billion deficit (nearly 5 billion more than the previous administration’s last budget, and government revenue has fallen by more than 28% since…