The question of whether or not the Attorney General’s Office advised and approved the Uthuruthilafalhu Development and Maintenance Agreement signed between Maldives and India has arisen.
Under the Right to Information Act, Dhiyares News the sister website of The Maldives Journal has submitted an RTI request to the Attorney General's Office on whether or not the Attorney General’s office advised and approved this agreement and to provide official documentation stating as such.
In response to Dhiyares News’ RTI request, the office stated that Attorney General’s Office had provided advisory regarding a written draft of an agreement and signing regarding the Maintenance and Development of Uthuruthilafalhu.
This however does not clarify whether the agreement signed between India and Maldives was indeed the same agreement that the Attorney General advised upon previously. This also does not clarify if the Attorney General advised to sign this agreement or against signing this agreement despite Dhiyares News having inquired so specifically.
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.