Spokesperson of the President's Office Ibrahim Hood has revealed that the expenses of the Maldives delegation that traveled to New York, United States to take part in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will be disclosed.
Hood's statement comes at a time when Transparency Maldives, a national chapter of a leading global movement against corruption, has stated that the financial details of the trip cannot be kept confidential.
Some social media reports have stated that a delegation of over 30 officials from Maldives traveled to the United States alongside President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to attend UNGA. While the reports claim over MVR 6 million was spent on the trip, Spokesperson Hood on Thursday told some medias that it is not the usual practice to disclose financial details of the President's official trips, but confirmed that the delegation comprised of less than 15 officials. He noted that some participants of the delegation resided in the US.
Hood's statement that it is not customary to publicize financial information prompted concern, with Transparency Maldives declaring that such information cannot be withheld.
According to Article 29 of the Maldives Constitution, everyone has the freedom to acquire knowledge and information, said Transparency. Under the article, seeking information from a state entity is a right assured by the constitution to all Maldivians, they noted. In this regard, details of expenses should be volunteered by the government, said Transparency, and called on the government to disclose details at the earliest when a request is made to obtain information.
Hood responded to Transparency Maldives on social media platform Twitter, stating that the speculations around the expenses of the UNGA participants had no basis, and said not even half the amount was spent on the tip.
Noting that he was currently en-route to Maldives after concluding the trip, Hood said the details of the trip will be publicized upon his return.