The Information Commission of the Maldives (ICOM) has directed the Foreign Ministry to reveal the identities of countries that requested the Maldives government to share the “formula” used by President Solih for the economic recovery of the Maldives. The ICOM made this ruling in response to a Right to Information request filed by The Maldives Journal.
Initially, the Foreign Ministry had refused to disclose the requested information, citing the Vienna Convention as a legal basis for withholding the information. However, during the hearing held on April 25th, the Information Commissioner, Ahidh Rasheed, rejected the Foreign Ministry’s claim, stating that the Vienna Convention does not protect the requested information.
In January, the Maldives Foreign Minister, Abdullah Shahid, announced that world leaders had requested the Maldivian government to share the “formula” used by President Solih for the economic recovery of the Maldives. During a campaign event held in Addu City, the Minister had attributed the Maldives’ economic recovery to the leadership of President Solih and stated that the Maldives is now being held as an example for the rest of the world.
The Foreign Ministry had argued that the information requested was privileged and exempt from the Right to Information Act under Article 22 of the RTI law of Maldives. However, during the hearing, the Information Commissioner pointed out that Article 27.1 of the Vienna Convention, which deals with facilitating communication between sending states and their diplomats, had nothing to do with communication between the mission and the host country.
The Foreign Ministry representatives had claimed that the article could be applied in this case and argued that all communication between diplomats and officials of two countries are classified. However, the Foreign Minister himself had announced that world leaders were asking him for the "economic formula" used by President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih, raising questions about the ministry's stance on the matter.