Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chair Mohamed Fahmy Hassan has said he will only resign from his post when the time is right and not as a result of intimidation or fear, dismissing a parliamentary no-confidence vote passed against him last year.
Speaking in local media this week, the CSC chair contended that he remained in his post legally with the backing of President Dr Mohamed Waheed.
Parliament voted to dismiss Fahmy from his CSC post in November 2012 in a no-confidence vote following an inquiry by the Independent Institutions Committee into allegations he sexually harassed a CSC employee.
Both Fahmy and the alleged victim were summoned to the committee after the complaint was lodged in the first week of June.
Fahmy was alleged to have called the female staff member over to him, before asking her to take his hand and stand in front of him so that others in the office could not see, and caressed her stomach. He was than accused of saying, “It won’t do for a beautiful single woman like you to get fat.”
MPs voted 38-32 to approve the committee’s recommendation to remove Fahmy from the post.
However, in March this year, the Supreme Court ruled that parliament’s decision to remove him from the CSC was unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court declared by a 6-1 majority that Fahmy would receive two punishments for the same crime if he was convicted in court following his dismissal by parliament (double jeopardy).
The apex court contended that the Independent Institutions Committee violated due process and principles of criminal justice procedure in dealing with the accused.
In an interview to local media outlet Channel News Maldives (CNM) today, Fahmy referred to the Supreme Court decision that overruled his parliamentary impeachment, saying it was everyone’s responsibility to uphold Court rulings.
“Everyone will have to uphold the rule of law and the decisions made by the courts of law. Whether it is the president or me or anybody, it has to be that way,” he was quoted as saying.
Fahmy also said that President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan himself has shown his support for him remaining as the CSC Chair by asking him to make a decision on his own capacity.
Fahmy had previously stated that he would only make a decision on whether to continue being part of CSC after President Waheed made a decision on the issue, noting that it was the president who had given him the letter of appointment.
President Waheed speaking on the issue to local media previously said it was “very complicated” for him to make a decision about Fahmy and suggested that it “would be best” for Fahmy to decide on his own.
Waheed said that two state powers, the legislature and the judiciary were in dispute over the matter and at such a complicated time, “Even individuals must help in resolving conflicts peacefully”.
“Always doing something that puts the President or the government in a trap is not a very good thing. I think the best thing to do at this time is let Fahmy take the initiative and decide on the matter. That is my position,” he said.
However, both former Attorney General Azima Shukoor and her successor Aishath Bisham have told media that President Waheed was advised against reinstating Fahmy in the post.
Both attorneys general argued that despite the Supreme Court ruling that Fahmy’s removal by parliament was unconstitutional, the apex court had not ordered his reinstatement.
Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid sent out a strong warning to Chair of Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Adam Mohamed informing the Supreme Court Justice that he would boycott the commission’s meetings should Fahmy continue to attend meetings of the judicial oversight commission.
Shahid’s warning came shortly after Attorney General Aishath Bisham conceded during a meeting with Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee (EOC) that any JSC meetings with Fahmy present would not be legally valid.
In response to a question by the committee chair, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ali Waheed, Bisham insisted that Mohamed Fahmy Hassan would not have to be reinstated.
In a letter sent at the time, Speaker of Parliament Shahid – who is an ex-officio member of JSC – stressed that even though the chair of CSC is also by virtue of his position a member of JSC, Fahmy cannot sit on commission because he had been dismissed from his position by parliament.
He added the parliament had informed President Waheed about its decision.
“In that letter, when the parliament came to the decision [to remove Fahmy], then-Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor and current Attorney General Aishath Bisham stated that Mohamed Fahmy Hassan could not sit in JSC as the President of CSC as that position had become vacant with the parliament’s decision.”
“The Attorney General Aishath Bisham had also said that JSC meetings attended by Fahmy cannot be deemed legal, during the 46th committee meeting of parliament’s executive oversight committee on June 4, 2013,” Shahid wrote.
Therefore, Shahid said he would not take part in any meetings attended by Fahmy.
The parliament has meanwhile invited interested candidates to apply for the “vacant” position of CSC President.
President Waheed however maintained that, prior to any appointments to the commission, the parliament should discuss the matter with the Supreme Court to avoid any further conflict.
Fahmy was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.