The Elections Commission (EC) has sent a letter dated October 23 to Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussan notifying the apex court that the police inspector sent with EC officials to London for the security of the ballot box has not returned with the rest of the team.
The commission argues that this constitutes a breach of the Supreme Court guidelines laid out for presidential elections.
The letter – circulating on social media and confirmed as legitimate by the EC – reads “Maldives Police Service’s Inspector of Police Nahidh Hussain [ID Card number: A011494] who, in accordance with number 12 of the guidelines included in your court’s verdict number 2013/SC-C/42, was sent with this commission’s ballot box number W05.1.1 to London, England, has not returned with the ballot box, and as a result the elections officials have brought back the ballot box without any assistance from him”.
“Hence, we notify you that Inspector of Police Nahidh Hussain has acted against your court’s verdict number 2013/SC-C/42,” the letter signed by EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek concluded.
Number 12 of the Supreme Court’s 16 point guideline states: “The Elections Commission together with the security services should ensure secure arrangements for printing new ballot papers with adequate security features appropriate for the election that must be held before October 20, 2013 under the constitution, transferring ballot papers from one place or island to another, maintaining security for ballot papers, and maintaining security for ballot boxes after voting”.
The Supreme Court has refused to confirm whether they have received the letter in question.
“We do not provide information to anyone. We cannot even confirm whether or not we have received such a letter,” said one court official who declined to identify himself.
A police media official confirmed that they had been notified of the issue, stating that they were currently investigating the matter.
The official was unable to confirm whether Inspector Nahidh has returned to the Maldives.
“As to my knowledge, he has not come back yet. However, I cannot confirm for sure whether he is back or not.”
“In an official trip like this, it is the concerned authority, in this case the Elections Commission, which will bear all the expenses of the trip, including return tickets. However, if the police officer has decided to stay back on his own then I suppose he should bear the expenses out of his own pocket,” the official said.
The media official refused to comment on whether Inspector Nahidh was authorised to stay back in London instead of returning with the ballot box or whether he had breached the SC guidelines as stated in the EC letter.
“I cannot further comment on the matter until the related investigation is over,” said the official.
An official from the EC confirmed that the expenses for the travel of the police officers providing security for the ballot boxes come out of the election budget under the authorisation of the Finance Ministry.
Staying back in England
Minivan News has learned that Inspector Nahidh Hussain, who is in charge of the Counter Terrorism Unit, is currently staying in England despite the rest of the team who travelled for the October 19 election having travelled back to the country.
Nahidh has posted about his trip on his personal twitter account.
A tweet on October 20 said that he was at the Emirates Stadium in London, another tweet on October 21 said he was travelling to Manchester, and a further post sent on October 23 read “Ready for tonite champions league matches”.
EC officials confirmed that the election officials who traveled with Nahidh to London have returned on October 21.