Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) issued promotions for up to 500 employees ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections, inside sources have confirmed. The state-owned enterprise (SOE) employs in excess of 2,000 staff across its operations.

“A lot of people are being promoted. The exact details have not been disclosed to the employees. However, there are rumours that close to 500 employees have been promoted,” an employee told local media sources.

Another employee alleged that, in addition to promotions, new job creation and recruitment is also being conducted to facilitate support for administration-aligned candidates.

Jobs created by MPL ahead of elections include those for various administrative duties at the Gaadhoo Commercial Port in Laamu (L) Atoll.

Jobs were announced and interviews were conducted in Fonadhoo, Laamu Atoll, before practical work on the project was underway, and also before the re-development of Kaddhoo Airport and the development of an integrated maritime hub at Gaadhoo Island was contracted to a Chinese company.

With only a day before the parliamentary elections, many companies have given promotions to select employees.

According to several sources, more than 100 employees at Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO), in excess of 60 at Stelco, nearly 100 at Fenaka and a significant number at Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) as well as at Housing Development Corporation (HDC) have also been given promotions this week.

While Transparency International has called on the administration to cease misusing state resources to promote candidates, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) expressed concern over intimidation and influence across the country ahead of elections.

Meanwhile, according to local media sources, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) ordered MIFCO to halt promotions to over 100 employees working at the state-owned fisheries company’s facilities in Felivaru Island and Kooddoo Island — a majority of employees at Felivaru hail from the islands of Naifaru and Hinnavaru in Lhaviyahi (Lh) Atoll, with most at Kooddoo hailing from the islands of Villingili, Maamendhoo, Kolamaafushi and Dhaandhoo in Gaafu Alifu (GA) Atoll.

While the anti-corruption watchdog has yet to make an official comment, the ACC is said to have ordered for promotions to be rescinded after investigating a complaint filed with the commission. The ACC is said to be actively investigating 14 election related complaints from the 16 it has registered thus far.

The Election Commission (EC) has also received other election related complaints including those of intimidation of state employees, anti-campaigning and the abuse of state resources for campaign purposes.