Information Commissioner Ahid Rasheed has ordered the Defense Ministry to reveal the details of the Uthuru Thilafalhu Agreement struck between the Maldives and India.
The Commissioner made the ruling after the online newspaper 'Dhiyares' was refused the details of the agreement by the defense ministry which prompted the newspaper to seek the aid of the Information Commission to derive the details of the agreement.
The Defense Ministry had cited national security concerns to back its refusal to reveal the details of the UTF Agreement.
Speaking at the hearing on the issue today, Information Commissioner Ahid said that he did not believe that the information included in the UTF agreement is detrimental to national security as the Ministry had said before.
Requested information regarding the UTF agreement
- Revealing the Indian organization who would deploy technical staff to Uthuru thila falhu
- How long Indians would be able to stay in the Maldives as per the agreement
- The number of Indian technical personnel would stay in the Maldives under the agreement
- The interest rate of the loan given under the UTF agreement and the payback date as well other key information regarding the loan
- Clarifying whether Indian technical personnel would be given immunity under the agreement
- Clarifying whether the Maldivian government would fund the accommodation and other costs of the Indian technical personnel deployed under the agreement
The Defense Ministry had said that revealing all the information except for that about the loan would violate the Armed Forces Act.
Information Commissioner Ahid said that the Defense Ministry had violated the Right to Information Act and ordered the Ministry to share the requested information. He also said that if the requested information is unavailable at the Ministry, then it should facilitate the compilation of the information from the relevant agencies.
He ruled that revealing the information requested by Dhiyares would not threaten national security and ordered the Defence Ministry to share the information within 7 working days.