The expenses of Minister of Transport, Aishath Nahula’s trip to Canada for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)'s 41st General Meeting was covered by her husband, Member of Parliament for the Maamigili constituency, Gasim Ibrahim, after the Ministry of Finance refused to finance the trip.
TMJ has learned that the Finance Ministry declined Nahula’s request to pay for the official trip due to “budget constraints".
The Deputy Minister of Transport, Hamad Abdul Ghani accompanied Minister Nahula on this official trip and TMJ has learned his expenses were also covered by Nahula, through his husband, Gasim Ibrahim.
One of Nahula’s close associates told TMJ that Nahula’s family members had planned a family vacation to Canada, specifically aligning the dates with Nahula’s trip to the ICAO General Meeting. However, since it was expected that Nahula’s tickets and trip expenses would be covered by the state, her husband previously had not made ticket arrangements for her along with the rest of the family.
A minister traveling on official state business with self-arranged personal finances is unheard of in Maldivian history.
The government had formally announced to cut back on state expenses to minimize the budget deficit. The circular instructed all ministries and SOE’s to limit spending and authorize necessary expenses only.
Despite the decision to deny funding to Minister Nahula, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and cabinet ministers have continued to partake in unnecessary travel. The first couple had recently traveled to London, England to attend the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, where they spent over MVR 2 million.
TMJ was unsuccessful in getting a comment from the finance ministry.