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Page added on March 7, 2011

“Shared corruptions” with Maldives worth hundreds of millions, reports Democratic Voice of Burma

“Shared corruptions” with Maldives worth hundreds of millions, reports Democratic Voice of Burma thumbnail

The Burmese authorities actively helped the Maldives “cover its tracks” while the Singapore branch of the State Trading Organisation (STO) funneled discounted OPEC oil to the junta using fraudulent paperwork and sold it at a premium, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has reported.

The DVB is describes itself as a non-profit news organisation providing accurate and unbiased news to Burma.

Referring to a draft report into the activities of STO Singapore compiled by forensic accountancy firm Grant Thorton on request of the Maldives government, “STO Singapore appear to have purchased fuel from Shell Eastern, the Singapore Petroleum Company and Petronas, and then sold it to STO, its parent company, or to third parties,” DVB said.

“The Maldives is given a special, cheap allocation of oil by OPEC because of the cartel’s preferential treatment for 100 percent Sunni Muslim nations, so the tiny island state under [former President] Gayoom would assume a far larger allocation of oil than the residents of the country needed,” it added.

Shipments destined for the Maldives would never arrive, and bills of lading recording receipt of cargo were missing, the report stated.

Details of the operation first appeared in an article by India’s The Week magazine, which identified the intermediary in the transaction between the two countries as Mocom Trading Pvt Ltd, a joint venture with a Malaysian company called Mocom Corporation Sdn Bhd, that was incorporated in 2004 to sell the oil allocation.

Mocom was one of only four foreign companies permitted to sell petroleum to the junta, alongside Daewoo, Hyundai and Petronas, the report stated – permission granted directly by Burma’s Energy Minister Brigadier-General Lun Thi.

The company had four director-shareholders: Kamal Bin Rashid, a Burmese national, two Maldivians: Fathimath Ashan and Sana Mansoor, and a Malaysian man named Raja Abdul Rashid Bin Raja Badiozaman, who was also Chief of Intelligence for the Malaysian armed forces for seven years. Then Managing Director of STO Singapore Ahmed Muneez was also a director.

According to the Grant Thorton report, the contract with Mocom Corporation revealed that a 40 percent commission on profits under the arrangement was paid directly into an account held by Rashid with the United Overseas Bank account in Singapore. The profits whereabouts beyond this point remain unknown.

When the story first broke, former STO chairman Abdulla Yameen, half brother of Gayoom and now leader of the opposition coalition party People’s Alliance (PA) party, told Minivan News that such trading was not illegal as STO Singapore was an “entrepreneurial” trade organisation that was licensed to trade in goods as well as supply the needs of the STO: “Even now the STO buys from one country and sells to those in need,” he said.

Yameen has acknowledged using the STO’s accounts to transfer money from the Maldives to his children in Singapore during his time as Chairman, but claims this was a legitimate means of avoiding foreign exchange fees.

The Week article had cited a source in the Singaporean police as stating that both Yameen and STO Singapore were under investigation. Minivan News contacted Singaporean police seeking to confirm the report, but was told by a police spokesperson that “It is inappropriate to comment on police investigations, if any.”

Obfuscation and heroin links

The DVB reported on several Burmese companies named in the Grant Thorton report as linked to Mocom.

“Among the companies who did business with the Maldivians was Kanbawza Bank, owned by Aung Ko Win, who is close to Burmese vice-general Maung Aye,” DVB reported.

Kanbawza Bank was “no stranger to controversy”, it noted.

“The bank was started in Shan state by the then-unknown and apparently ‘asset-less’ teacher, Aung Ko Win, who happened to meet and befriend Maung Aye. From mysterious profits made in the Shan hills – once the world’s largest source of opium – the bank has grown to become one of the biggest and most important financial institutions in Burma.”

Other companies which were doing business with the Maldives included Golden Aaron and S H NG Trading Pte Ltd, recorded active trading in 2002. During this period, according to the invoices obtained by Grant Thorton, STO revenue increased dramatically to $US78.8 million.

Both these Burmese companies are facing international sanctions, noted DVB, and are owned by Steven Law and his Singaporean wife, Cecilia NG. Law’s father, Lo Hsing Han, is described by the US government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as “the godfather of heroin”.

Most of the Maldives’ heroin since the 1990s is of the ‘brown sugar’ variety of Afghan or Pakistani origin. However, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime Representative for East Asia and the Pacific, Gary Lewis – cited in the DVB report – a wave of ‘china white’ heroin appeared on the streets of Male’ in 2003.

The vast majority of this variety, many times stronger than brown sugar, is produced in Burma.

The DVB report concluded that details such as those appearing in the Grant Thorton report currently “ask more questions than they answer.”

But the outline of STO Singapore’s operations thus far suggested that the “shared corruptions” between Burma and the Maldives were “worth hundreds of millions, [from] which [it] will take generations to fully recover.”

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24 Comments on "“Shared corruptions” with Maldives worth hundreds of millions, reports Democratic Voice of Burma"

  1. sato on Mon, 7th Mar 2011 6:04 PM 

    keep dreaming. Nothing will stop this gove

  2. sato on Mon, 7th Mar 2011 6:05 PM 

    Nothing will stop this government from falling. Full of gangas and sex addicts

  3. whatever on Mon, 7th Mar 2011 6:51 PM 

    government will not fall. But some people might. The mayor who heads the presidential inquiry division should leak to the media the documents unearthed. Or are they waiting till 2013 to unleash the corruption of the former regime. We should sack reeko moosa also. President should consult with genuine mdp leaders and remove reeko n maria who happens to operate an airline.

  4. Ahmed on Mon, 7th Mar 2011 7:05 PM 

    sato: I see you sobered up bit and posted again. Well done.

  5. Ahmed Aliased on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 12:10 AM 

    That’s where the DRP’s funds come from. Tyrants will support other tyrants. They will deal drugs, steal,m smuggle and terrorize anyone in a bid for power.

  6. Haleem on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 12:45 AM 

    Yaameen has profited from these deals. STO appointed two directors and paid them without any receipts. Former MD who was once US ambassador is reportedly having over 19m dollars in Bank of America. According to Muniz this was transfered from Singapore as Maniku’s commission. Anni what the hell are you doing when you getting all these information. Bring the bastards to the courts.

  7. Mahjub shujau on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 12:58 AM 

    Good. But don’t just talk about it. Do something practical rather than pout like an old lady.

    Prosecute them all. No culprit must go unpunished. Regardless of colour they exhibit now. Some are known chameleons.

  8. naju on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 8:39 AM 

    We, the beloved people of the Maldives have the same request as Mr Haleem…

    Anni, for God’s sake, please try your best to bring Yameen and all those involved in cases like the STO oil crisis to Justice..

    We cannot afford watching such news, listening such news any more…please act without any delay, you are a president we elected to ensure Justice for us as shown on the MDP logo or flag

  9. Ad-On on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 9:04 AM 

    What a coincidence even today most of Yameen’s personal body guards happens to be well known drug dealers.

  10. Canyou on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 9:22 AM 

    So, to cut a long story short, can you get evidence that Yameen is also a drug dealer as well as an illegal oil dealer?

  11. A. Khaleel on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 9:29 AM 

    All these insinuations and innuendoes appearing in ‘minivan news’, which is owned by the family of president nasheed. is this the future of journalism in maldives?
    and more to the point, if the allegations are even partly true, why has the government so reticent in taking any action?
    all this stuff you are reporting feels so much like mud-slinging..can minivan news ever regain the credibility it once had?

  12. mariyam on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 9:49 AM 

    Maumoon ge aburubodi eh oiy kamah bune, H.shafeeguge Ahamed Shafeeg ge machchah kuraa dhawvaa ge chit shafeeg ah libivadaigenfi. Mi chit courtun fonuvi iru emme hairaan vaakamakee, maumoon ge kurin shafeeg hushahelhuvvi masala obbaalaafai, maumoon hushahalhi mas ala mi balanee. mihiree court thah maumoon hijeck koffaa hunna varu. shafeeg edhivadai gannavaa, thiree gai evaa meehun courtah haziru kuran. Maumoon, Hassan sobir,adam zahir, Isthafaa ibrahim maniku,Anbaree abdul sattar, V. lhahuththu. Anbaree filaa ulhenee Malaysia gai dhari ah kiyavaidhinumuge namugai. adhi maumoon hifahattaa fai vaa 50 dairy.meege there in libifai vanee 1 dairy, e libifai vanee ves raees nasheed verikamah vadai gen fahun. ehen dairy thah vee maumoon lee thaaku. mi dairy thakugai hunnaane shafeeg vidhaalhuvaa vaahakathah thedheh kan saabith kodhdheven. court thakun midairy thah ves balan jeheyne, shafeeg court ah haazir kurumuge kurin, maumoon verikan kuri iru kanthah kuri goathah mihaaru ve mi court thakugai mi ulhenee. Shafeeg vanee, maumoon hifattaa nudhee vaa dairy thah hoadhai dhevvumashaa, nuhaqqun maumoon dhin adhabu ballavai dhevvumah , maumoon aburubodi ey kiyagen court ah laigen ulhey mas alaige kurin, Raees office, Human right commision, Police integrity commision, Defence ministry, adhi Procecutor general office ah sitee fonuvvaa fai. maumoon kairi bunan oiy vaahaka akee, thiya kaleyge dhuvas dhaan varah kairi vejje ey. dhen salaamatheh nuvaaney… adhi yaameen ves e ulhenee hama haas vegen.

  13. Makunuvaa on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 11:29 AM 

    I’ve been searching for informations on this Mocom company.

    Looks like the DO website spoke of Mocom & STO corruptions, and a possible drugs link way back in 2005 here –
    http://www.dhivehiobserver.com/business/STO-Report-1008052.htm

    And there’s a PDF file here – STO Singapore draft audit report from Grant Thornton UK –
    http://www.maldivesculture.com/

    Let’s hope and pray that something will come of this, and that money will be recovered for the country.

  14. Ilyas Ahmed on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 11:30 AM 

    @ A.Khaleel,

    “All these insinuations and innuendos”???

    BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID – This is my message to Yameen, Maumoon, Muneez, Manik and the rest of the Mafia gang.

    The Government and the International experts are proceeding rapidly with the investigation and when the right moment comes the Masterminds will be arrested. 100% assured.

    So, please Mr. A.Khaleel, continue to shiver. You have no idea when the whole mountain will come crashing down on your friends’ heads (or are you one of the gang?)

    Maumoon & Yameen will end up behind bars soon enough.

  15. Sharaf on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 11:38 AM 

    Bring the brothers to court? Which court? Big brother’s cronies Kangaroo Court?

  16. Hassan on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 11:54 AM 

    This Yamin guy is a corrupt guy to the core. He should be taken out from the political landscape. He is evil and there are couple of guys who says that this Yamin guy had directly asked to go and collect “unknown parcels” from UL flights to Male’ and offering the unsuspecting victims to share in the profits. Apparently, these instructions in mid night while in cartune shujau’s office. Wonder if these parcels originated from Burma???

  17. broader on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 12:28 PM 

    Maumoon-Yamin brothers sucked all our blood dry, and still trying to get more. When can they be stopped? I don’t think Anni can do it. May be he’s also taking a cut to fund the MDP.

  18. Rauna on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 12:36 PM 

    with all these stories Maniku still the pension fund head. why Maniku and Muneez not suspended only the poor ladies suspended. Why cant the commision gives us an update of the investigation. so earger to hear it.

  19. get your fact right. on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 4:00 PM 

    A. Khaleel, Minivan news is no longer owned or affiliated with president Nasheed’s family.

  20. Dhonfuthu on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 4:54 PM 

    My my ….. Let’s c where the blood trail begins n where it ends .…

  21. Zeenat on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 5:14 PM 

    Its an open secret that politicians (around the world) get kickbacks of 10 to 20 percent in country’s business deals. But having links with narcotic smugglers is crime, making them criminal.

  22. Rationale on Tue, 8th Mar 2011 5:55 PM 

    Yameen as an economist must have seen the no. of addicts in Maldives and worked out their consumption and thus the money doled out from our economy. Hence a system to retian the money within the country must have paved thru the oil-heroine deal ….

  23. All lies on Wed, 9th Mar 2011 2:46 PM 

    @Rationale
    Yameen is not an economist on paper as well as in actual practice.

    On paper he did a course on business administration. In practice, he reigned as the longest serving trade/economy minister of Maldives. If he is an economist, Maldives will now have laws regulating the business sector and few big businesses (including companies with his personal shareholding) would not be able to exploit the economy.

    Yameen should step aside, not just due to his corruption but due to poor record in office.

  24. back on Fri, 11th Mar 2011 10:50 AM 

    pls get this yaameen …its a a cure for gangsters, drug addicts and other illegal trades….plssssssss


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  • Ja: I wounder why countries even fight wars . Let both sides plan palm trees. A green strategy. Hhahahha
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  • asstar: If this is the case islam shouldnt be even compulsory.

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Torture victims in the Maldives tell their stories