Maldives launches probe on Chinese loans

2019-01-09 at 18:09

The president of the Maldives has appealed to citizens to furnish details of graft during the term of his pro-China predecessor, as the country investigates deals worth billions of dollars given to Chinese firms.

Since Ibrahim Mohamed Solih beat Abdulla Yameen in a surprise election result last year his administration has been trying to determine the extent of Chinese loans used to fund a construction boom in the Maldives.

In a statement, Solih’s office asked the public to submit written complaints about “cases of corruption and abuse of power within state institutions”, over a period of nearly six years from Jan. 1, 2012.

Critics have said contracts were given to Chinese companies at inflated prices, for example one relating to a bridge linking the capital Male to the main airport.

Yameen has denied any wrongdoing, saying he took on loans to accelerate economic development.

China has been building ports, highways and power stations as part of its giant Belt and Road Initiative to boost trade and transport links across Asia and beyond.

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