Saturday 1st Apr 2023
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President Solih

President's Office Refuses to Disclose Expenses of Qatar Trip

The President's Office has refused to disclose the expenses incurred during the trip to Qatar by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed to watch a semi-final match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Maldives Journal submitted a right to information request asking for details of the trip's expenses, but the President's Office failed to disclose the information even after the deadline passed.
Earlier, the President's Office had claimed that the First Couple was traveling on an invitation from the Emir of Qatar and that all expenses except for the airfare would be borne by the Qatari state. The airfare was said to be covered by the President. However, government sources have revealed that the government spent approximately MVR 4 million on the trip.
Despite President Solih's claims that he was invited by the Qatari Emir, he did not get to meet the Emir. This contradicts the President's Office's previous statement and raises questions about the truthfulness of the claims made. Other leaders who were invited by the Emir watched the matches with him in the VVIP box of the stadium, adding to the skepticism about the official narrative of the trip.
The lack of transparency surrounding the expenses incurred during the President's and First Lady's trip to Qatar raises concerns about the proper use of public funds. The public deserves to know how their tax dollars are being spent, especially on overseas trips by government officials.
It is important that the President's Office be transparent and accountable to the public, and disclose the expenses incurred during the Qatar trip. The refusal to do so raises serious questions about the legitimacy of the trip and the use of public funds.