Local religious scholar Sheikh Ilyas Hussain, also a prominent member of the Adhaalath Party, has refuted claims that he accepted a fishing vessel as a bribe.
Speaking at a campaign event Fuvahmulah atoll, for the first time since the allegations surfaced on social media, Ilyas said such a vessel does not exist and that he would gift it to anyone who can find it.
The scholar said that the allegations are an attempt to smear him, instigated by rivals of the party and its coalition partners. Sheikh Ilyas said he is dismayed by the fact that other scholars have encouraged such slander.
“I bear no ill will against them. But I will not accept these accusations”, Ilyas said.
Ilyas further said that he has been offered bribes for various reasons over the course of his career in politics and scholarship, but has not conceded to any of them.
In this regard, Ilyas claimed he has also been threatened and blackmailed but these too are pressures he will not concede to.