The Criminal Court has today decided not to accept any cases submitted by the Prosecutor General’s Office and to halt all existing cases because the position of Prosecutor General (PG) has been vacant for over 30 days, the PG’s Office has confirmed.
On November 25, former PG Ahmed Muiz submitted his resignation, shortly before parliament was set to debate a no-confidence motion against him.
Speaking to Minivan News today Deputy Prosecutor General Hussein Shameem said that as soon as he receives the court’s decision he will appeal it at the High Court.
Shameem stated that the laws do not say that the Deputy PG cannot take over the responsibilities of the PG in a case where a new PG is not appointed within 30 days.
He also said that it was for the parliament to appoint a new PG, noting that the Criminal Court had not discussed the issue with the parliament before making the decision.
Shameem expressed concern that there were people held in pretrial detention who are to be kept there until their trial was concluded.
“So what do they do now, it would not be fair to keep them in there until the parliament comes back to work from recess after three months and appoint a new PG,’’ Shameem said.
“That is one of my biggest concerns over this issue, it is a responsibility of the PG office to uphold constitutional rights of the people.’’
He said the court had not approached the PG’s Office before making this decision.
“And also, this morning the court made the decision but today afternoon we received a chit from the court stating that two cases have been scheduled for tomorrow,’’ he said, adding that “maybe the two cases are concerning someone close to them.’’
Furthermore, Shameem said that there were no laws stating that the Deputy PG cannot fulfill the responsibilities of PG in the case of the position being vacant. He argued that the work of PG’s Office should not come to a halt because the parliament had failed to appoint a new PG.
He also said that the court had informed the PG that it will continue the extension of detention trials for those under arrest.
On December 10, President Abdulla Yameen proposed his nephew Maumoon Hameed for the post of Prosecutor General and submitted the name to the parliament for the MPs to approve.
The issue was sent to parliament’s Independent Commissions Committee and the committee decided to seek public opinion on him before sending it to the parliament floor for voting.
However, the parliament is now on recess and will not re-commence work until March.
Criminal Court Spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Manik did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.