The Chair of Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee, MP Ali Waheed, has claimed the August 2012 report produced by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) was “flawed” based on the findings of the committee “so far”.
The Commonwealth-backed report investigated the circumstances surrounding the controversial transfer of power in February 2012.
MP Waheed, of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), made the claim in a press conference held by the parliament select committee in the early hours of Saturday.
Waheed said many interviewed by the committee claimed the CNI report lacked “key information they had given [the CNI panel]”.
“Some have even claimed their information was wrongly presented,” he said, but declined to reveal the identity of those who made the claim.
The committee previously requested President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to hand over statements of key figures of the former government and military officials given to CNI. The request was rejected and a bid by the committee to issue a legal order demanding the information failed when a vote was put to the members.
MP Waheed on Saturday described the president’s refusal to share the information as a “blessing in disguise”.
“Some people who attended the committee [meeting] have told us that key information they gave was missing from the CNI report, and said they did not accept its findings,” he said.
The opposition-controlled committee is conducting a parliamentary inquiry on the controversial transfer of power, while also reviewing the CNI report.
A 22 day continuous anti-government protest led by then opposition figures, religious scholars and mutinying police and military officials, following the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, led to the sudden resignation of then-President Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed and his party later alleged he was forced out of office in a coup d’etat.
However in August 2012 the CNI formed by incoming President Mohamed Waheed Hassan and backed by the Commonwealth released a report declaring the transfer of power was legitimate.
As part of its present inquiry, the parliament’s committee has summoned former intelligence heads of the police and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), including Superintendent Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed and Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam.
Last Friday the committee summoned former SAARC Secretary General and Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed, former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh and former Police Superintendent Mohamed Jinah. It has also announced that two international experts will take part in assisting the inquiry for a period of two weeks.
“Huge crime against the state”
According to Waheed the parliamentary inquiry was “revealing” information suggesting a “huge crime against the state” involving individuals, leaders of political parties and senior figures within the police and the military.
“From what we have found out, the committee has come to the conclusion that the events very much involved the stakes of two pivotal figures. They are President Nasheed and President Waheed. This I say because the events involved people who were loyal to both Nasheed and Waheed,” he said.
He also admitted the names of several people have been floated within the committee who needed to be questioned in the course of the inquiry, including the former president and his successor. Others included former Home Minister Hassan Afeef, former Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu and key senior officials of Nasheed’s administration.
MP Waheed also reiterated that a lot of people had been hesitant to speak to the CNI as it was formed by President Waheed’s government and included senior figures of the events of February 7. Some of those people cabinet positions, Waheed said.
“In light of what we have come to know, a lot of people were eager to raise their concern and share information regarding the [controversial transfer of power], but they were not sure of the right person to should share their concerns with,” he said.
A similar notion was put forward by Dhiyana Saeed in her personal memoir, in which she wrote of a plot by Nasheed’s political opponents to assassinate him.
“I desperately needed to consult someone but who? … I couldn’t go to my associates on this side because now I didn’t know whose hands were tainted and whose hands weren’t. The politics was so bitter, so deeply divided and so polarized that if I happened to confide in the wrong person I thought what I had to say would be reported to the wrong people and covered-up,” she wrote, in her memoir.
Meanwhile, Waheed noted security concerns raised by those who appeared before the committee, claiming they were “at risk” for sharing such confidential information.
“Some individuals who have given witness to the committee have raised concerns over their security and requested security. The committee has debated the matter and already informed the speaker [of its views],” he said.
“I don’t deny the fact that we may need to summon more people in the coming days. Some of the names of people we plan to summon may not be even mentioned in CNI report,” he said.
Asked of former SAARC Secretary General and Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed’s allegations of assassination attempts against Nasheed, Waheed said the committee would look into the allegations.
“The committee will very seriously look into the concerns raised by Dhiyana of a plotted assassination of former President Mohamed Nasheed,” he said.
“Inquiry is not politically motivated” – MP Ali Waheed
Challenged as to the credibility of the report, given that the committee had an opposition majority, Waheed said that they had decided to look into the matter not based on any “political motives”, and that the inquiry was solely based upon “national interest”.
“The committee’s findings will not produce politicised results. We are summoning key stakeholders including those in senior positions in the government. The findings will not be based on the word of one just one person. We will not include any allegation against anyone without verifying it,” he said.
He added that the inquiry was not about the two former presidents or about President Waheed.
“This is not about the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) or the MDP. This is not an inquiry carried out by putting key political actors in a single chart and drawing conclusions for political benefit.”
He also affirmed that no unverified claims would be included in the report.
“[The report] will be based on information given by key people in positions of the state, who by the constitution are obliged to give true information,” he said.
Waheed also expressed confidence the report will unveil the truth of what happened on February last year, and said the committee was even willing to go to a public debate with those who wished to challenge its findings.
Presidents Office Spokesperson Masood Imad was not responding at time of press.