The British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC, has reported that then-Fisheries Minister Dr. Mohamed Shainee had funded British MP Ian Paisley’s luxury holiday to the Maldives in 2016.
Citing the company that owns the resort where Paisley stayed at, BBC’s Spotlight said that Shainee had “requested the accommodation and settled the payment.”
While it was previously reported that Paisley and his family’s five-day stay was facilitated by a shareholder of Sunland Hotels Hussain Hilmy, a statement sent by the company reads, “the co-owner Mr Hilmy was informed the booking was for a private stay for a personal acquaintance of Mr Shainee, Ian Paisley and his family.”
BBC emphasized that the holiday came eight months after Paisley visited the country and lobbied on the government’s behalf.
While BBC had, last December, reported that Shainee had not disclosed the details of this trip to the People’s Majlis, it noted that Paisley had said that “he had paid for part of the trip and that a long-term friend who was unconnected to his work paid for the other part.”
It added that Shainee denied “arranging or paying for the holiday.”
BBC also said that it has also received evidence that MP Paisley and family had undertaken a similar “free of charge” trip to the Maldives in 2014.
While this is to have taken a year after he visited the country on an official trip, BBC emphasized that the Maldivian government had funded this trip as well.
Despite MPs being required “to register any overseas travel for which they have not paid themselves and that could be seen to be connected to their work,” Paisley did not register the 2014 stay as well.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politician has been under fire for refusing to disclose the identity of the mystery friend, and was even suspended from parliament for 30 sitting days last year for failing to declare two family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.