MALE, July 31, 2023 — Ahmed Saeed, Managing Director of Fenaka, the Maldivian government utility company, was part of a high-level delegation led by Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid that traveled to the United States in June. This visit marked a momentous occasion as Shahid was there to officially inaugurate the Maldivian embassy in Washington DC.
During the visit, Saeed participated in meetings held between Shahid and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. This marked the first instance in the history of the Maldives where a Managing Director of a utilities company participated in top-tier discussions with US State Department officials.
The Maldives Journal submitted an information request to the Foreign Ministry seeking details of the meeting and justifying Saeed's involvement. However, the Ministry has declined to disclose the specifics of the discussions, sparking a wave of speculation and concerns over potential conflicts of interest.
Critics argue that Saeed had no tangible reason to participate in such high-level diplomatic interactions. The fact that Foreign Minister Shahid and Saeed are related has only further fueled the controversy. Critics suggest that this familial relationship may be the only reason for Saeed's involvement in these crucial meetings.
In a political climate that demands transparency and accountability, the presence of a utilities company executive in diplomatic conversations with foreign counterparts is seen as unusual and potentially compromising. It raises questions about the decision-making process within the Foreign Ministry and the criteria used for selecting delegates in such high-profile meetings.
It remains to be seen how the Foreign Ministry will respond to the growing public demand for clarity on the issue. Without a transparent explanation, the issue may further strain the public's confidence in the Ministry's handling of international affairs. As the debate continues to rage on, the need for a thorough investigation into the matter becomes increasingly apparent.