The Foreign Ministry of Maldives has still not disclosed the identities of countries that requested the Maldives government to share the “formula” used by President Solih for the economic recovery of the Maldives, despite the Information Commission of the Maldives (ICOM) directing them to do so. The ICOM made this ruling on April 25th, 2023 in response to a Right to Information request filed by The Maldives Journal. However, as of May 8th, 2023, the requested information has not been disclosed.
This is not the first time that President Solih's administration has been accused of not obeying ICOM orders. It has become a norm under his administration to not comply with the Information Commission's rulings.
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.
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.
The Foreign Ministry representatives had claimed that the requested information 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 lack of disclosure of the requested information raises questions about the transparency and accountability of the Maldives government.