The President’s Office has instructed the Ministry of Transport to halt the sale of vanity licence plates, citing irregularities in how these special licences are managed.

In a letter sent to the Minister of Transport, Aishath Nahula, on Sunday, Ali Zahir, Chief of Staff of the President’s Office, noted that the office had identified irregularities in the sale of these special plates and that the state had been deprived of revenue it was rightfully owed.

The letter also highlighted that although a grievance committee was supposed to be established to investigate claims related to the sale of vanity plates, such a committee has not been convened.

Consequently, the President’s Office has requested the ministry to furnish all records of sales from the past five years, including the current regulations governing these sales, as well as an assessment of whether these regulations are being adhered to.

The correspondence concluded by ordering a halt to all sales of vanity plates until a review has been completed by the President’s Office.

The directive comes at a time when the transport minister, who is also the wife of Jumhooree Party (JP)’s presidential candidate Qasim Ibrahim, recently lost her deputy to the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Deputy Minister of Transport, Hamad Abdul Ghanee, defected from JP to join the MDP after the JP ended its coalition ahead of the upcoming presidential elections. Hamad has since levelled numerous allegations of corruption against Minister Nahula.