The Maldives will appeal to Beijing to make concessions on repayments of debt clocked up during the previous administration, which the current government says is tied to illicit activity that ramped up contract costs.
“This was wilful corruption,” Ibrahim Ameer, the country’s finance minister, told the Financial Times. “[The former government] knew what they were doing, getting kickbacks from contractors… That’s why the contract prices were too high.”
Ameer claims that Chinese projects make up the majority of funds used for corrupt means, but the graft also involved deals with other countries. The Maldives is now looking for lower interest rates and a longer repayment schedule, given the latest evidence.
“We do not have the fiscal health to carry on with these contracts. So it is in our interest to renegotiate,” Ameer said.