Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim has responded to reports his home will be raided by police by saying: “I am not trembling”.
Speaking to local media outside his residence, Maamigili MP Gasim stated he was willing to work with anyone who stands to defend the Constitution and that despite threats and pressure he will always stand firm.
Gasim – who chaired the Special Majlis which formulated the 2008 Constitution – also stated that he would not stop any state authority from doing its duty, saying that he was currently waiting at Maafannu Villa to facilitate the police force if they are to come.
As crowds gathered outside Gasim’s residence this afternoon awaiting the raid, confusion spread over the existence of a court warrant for the search with police saying there was no truth to the rumours.
Police have, however, confirmed that a warrant had been obtained to search a property in Maafannu early this morning, which they later discovered to belong to the Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim.
JP spokesman Ahmed Sameer told Minivan News that the party is not aware of the reason Gasim’s residence would be targetted, saying that Gasim has nothing to hide and that he does all his work in a transparent and democratic manner.
“This is political, there is nothing else to this,” Sameer stated.
Minivan News was unable to obtain a response from either the Criminal Court media officials or Gasim himself at the time of publication.
Sameer also said that the government has ordered that a plot of land leased to Gasim’s Villa TV (VTV), in Kaafu Thilafushi, be handed back.
“The rent is being paid as per the agreement but the government is arbitrarily taking over property for political reasons without any regard to constitutional rights and freedoms,” Sameer said.
The JP has accused political enemies of being behind a number of setbacks for Gasim’s business interests last year, as well as death threats he received.
In one instance, the international status of Maamigili airport was removed for less than a month in August as Gasim opposed the government’s flagship SEZ bill in the Majlis. Gasim later reversed his stance on the bill, with the JP issuing a three-line whip in support of the legislation.
Defence minister’s residence raided
In a brief press conference held at Iskandar Koshi this afternoon, Chief Inspector of Police Mohamed Shifan stated that two apartments on the 8th floor of a house were raided under a court warrant at approximately 3.30am this morning.
“When police searched one of the two apartments of the house, police personnel involved in the operation discovered that the house was resided in by Minister of Defence and National Security Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim”.
Therefore in light of the discovery, the raid was conducted by giving full consideration and respect to Nazim, police said.
Police also noted that some items needed for the police investigation were confiscated from one of the apartments and that police “applied appropriate force” to enter the house.
Police did not allow journalists to ask any further questions during the press conference.
Haveeru subsequently reported that the police officers who requested the court warrant for Nazim’s residence have been summoned to the court for further clarification on the matter.
Nasheed vows to defend Gasim
Speaking at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally in the capital Malé last weekend, former president Mohamed Nasheed said that, despite their political differences, he would not allow President Abdulla Yameen to destroy the JP leader Gasim.
“Gasim’s property cannot be looted. Gasim’s character and body cannot be harmed,” he told supporters at the Alimas Carnival ground. “We shall rally in his defense”.
The speech continued a warming of relations between the opposition MDP and Gasim’s JP, which had allied with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) against Nasheed in 2013 to secure the presidency for Yameen.
Indeed, MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed and Vice President Mohamed Shifan flanked Gasim as he spoke to the media outside his home this afternoon.
Following calls from Nasheed to work with the JP in defence of the Constitution last week, the party’s Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim expressed gratitude to the MDP leader.
“The JP parliamentary group has decided to do the necessary to defend the Constitution. Very happy that President Nasheed has decided to travel with us in the same boat,” tweeted Ameen.
Recently, the ruling coalition member Maldivian Development Alliance MP Mohamed Ismail proposed an amendment to Article 109 of the Constitution seeking to bar individuals aged 65 years and above from standing for the presidency.
The move would end the presidential ambitions of the JP leader, who will be 66-years-old in 2018.
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