The Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) agreement between the governments of India and the Maldives had been signed after having bypassed an important official procedure.
All bilateral agreements between the Maldivian governments and foreign nations or international organizations that impose no obligations on the citizens require, prior to the signing, the written credential of the President.
The President's signature and seal are required to authorize the signing of any agreement on behalf of the State.
As per protocol, the credential to be signed by the President is issued, after legal clearance, by the Attorney General’s Office.
Dhiyares, the sister-newspaper of The Maldives Journal, has learned that President Solih had issued no such credential for the signing of the UTF agreement.
It is a constitutional requirement to issue Presidential credentials prior to the signing of bilateral agreements.
According to an expert on International Public Law, speaking anonymously to Dhiyares, the validity of any agreement that had been signed without such a credential is subject to question. The source had also said that they believed that the agreement was one that required the approval of the Majlis.
The UTF agreement had been signed by Minister of Defence, Uza. Mariya Ahmad Didi, on behalf of the Maldivian government. Although the government had persisted in keeping the contents of the agreement classified, a draft of the agreement had been leaked. The government had responded by characterizing the leaked document as a "fake".