Decision to remove Dr Afrashim from JSC “a victory for all reformists”, says Velezinee

Parliament today voted 38 to 34 in favour of a motion of no-confidence to remove opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Dr Afrashim Ali from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The motion to dismiss controversial religious scholar Afrashim from the judicial watchdog body was submitted by Majority Leader “Reeko” Moosa Manik of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) last week.

The DRP had issued a three-line whip in an effort to save the embattled JSC member during today’s vote.

Breakdown of the vote

Afrashim’s defence

Responding to the multiple charges of misconduct, Afrashim denied that his appointment as the JSC’s representative to the Supreme Court violated article 163 of the constitution, which requires a majority of the commission’s 10 members to be in attendance for a vote.

Only five members of the JSC had signed in as present at the meeting in question on February 6.

Afrashim argued that seeking the approval of JSC members through telephone calls was standard practice while meetings could be held without a majority in attendance “under special circumstances.”

If members participated through audio conferencing, he added, “they can be considered to be present in a meaningful sense.”

On the matter of drawing allowances, Afrashim pointed out that the decision to award committee allowances was made by the interim commission in January 2009, prior to his appointment to the JSC.

“When we were selected for the commission, the Judicial Service Commission’s administration informed us to give our [bank] account numbers to deposit money,” he said. “We didn’t even know what that money was for. This is not something that we decided for ourselves unlawfully.”

Article 164 of the constitution states that “A member of the Judicial Service Commission who is not a member of the Executive, the Judiciary, or the People’s Majlis shall be paid such salary and allowances as may be determined by the People’s Majlis.”

Afrashim insisted that the article does not explicitly prohibit remuneration for commission members already receiving state incomes.

Moreover, as the article states that parliament could approve salaries and allowances for all commission members, Afrashim argued that the annual JSC budget, including provisions for committee allowances, was passed by parliament “because it was not in violation of the constitution.”

The JSC budget obtained by Minivan News confirmed that JSC members were in some cases receiving up to Rf 9000 (US$700) a month as a ‘committee allowance’; a total of Rf 514,660 (US$40,000) in 2010.

The DRP MP for Ungoofaru also denied any wrongdoing in the vetting process of reappointing judges in August 2010 – which took place amid concerns about the competency and integrity – as stipulated by article 285 of the constitution.

Echoing claims by fellow opposition MPs, Afrashim alleged that the resolution to remove him from the JSC constituted “an attempt to politically influence the judiciary and transfer judges.”

In his closing statement after the two-hour long debate, Afrashim alleged that President Mohamed Nasheed had called him on former DRP MP Alhan Fahmy’s phone and requested that Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed “be removed even if it meant disregarding principles and procedure.”

Former President’s Member on the JSC, Aishath Velezinee, described today’s decision in parliament as “a victory for all reformists.”

“The Majlis’ decision to remove Dr Afrashim for breach of trust and acting unconstitutionally raises a fundamental question about the legality of the courts today,” Velezinee said, highlighting the JSC’s hasty and untransparent reappointment of all sitting judges in August 2010.

“I blame the Speaker [Abdulla Shahid] for having sat in the JSC during Dr Afrashim’s treason,” Velezinee added. “He has lost all authority to remain as Speaker and thereby hold his seat in the JSC. The Majlis must now ensure that Article 285 is honoured in full, and judicial reform in undertaken as guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Dr Afrashim’s allegations that President Nasheed had attempted to bully him into dismissing the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed, “sounded to me like a last minute life line,” Velezinee said.

“Afrashim never mentioned that in the JSC. And having sat as the President’s appointed member, I can vouch that President Nasheed never made any such request of me.”


21 thoughts on “Decision to remove Dr Afrashim from JSC “a victory for all reformists”, says Velezinee”

  1. The decision to remove Afraasheem from JSC is nearly as welcome as that to remove Velizinee from the same Commission.

  2. What sort of religious scholar is Dr Afrashim?
    He don’t hesitate to lie! Religious don’t do such things, they supposed to be honest and god-fearing.
    Any way good ridden to bad rubbish.

  3. Not much to say.

    DRP influence to be replaced by MDP influence in the judiciary.

    Too utopian to dream of a judiciary completely free of political influence but horrific to know that the judiciary will be controlled by the political party with a majority in parliament if the current structure of the JSC is allowed to remain.

  4. Afrasheem is just like a regular Maldivian..nothing different..just another lying,hypocritical,conniving,ill mannered,insensitive and undisciplined person..You won't get any other type of people in the Maldives!

    All MAldivians have bad blood running through their veins...

  5. In haveeru or sun news it said..president nasheed called afrashim using alhan fahmy's phone. Here in minivannews you say president called using ali wahid's phone. Wonder which on is correct...need to go and watch video from somewhere to make sure i guess.. Cannot get proper news from anywhere nowadays..

  6. @Maldives: I cry for you!!!
    There is lot of truth in what you said about Maldivians but that is not because of being a Maldivains.

    So far no one has taught good values to Maldivans. From previous Sultans, to the elites, manipulation, 'lying, hypocritical,conniving,ill mannered,insensitive and undisciplined' is all that has been taught to people. And thats what works - so please do paint all Maldivans with a broad brush..

  7. I am glad this idiot is gone. I think it is time for Moosa to keep his word and stop the funding for the Zaeem. Remove the judges one by one who is legislating from the bench. Implement the tax laws and ask Buruma to cough up the money he owes to the MMA.

  8. I think too much tuna is making Maldivians testosterone level too high.

  9. If Afraasheem had his way even the parliament will call the absent MPs and ask to vote through the telephone call. He was instrumental in making permanent the position of several corrupt and barely educated judges who are Maumoon cronies. Maumoon has not allowed any Maldivian besides his close associates and their children to study law. Cases against vice president of PA and Maumoon's own brother remain unresolved. Maumoon and his associates are afraid they will be prosecuted under an independent judiciary.

  10. Removing the poison from the system. There is hope!! rejoice, rejoice!!

  11. I dont really care who gets to stay or who gets sacked.
    Just sort them out quickly and get some real work done to curtail the daily crimes!

  12. Afrasheem is again another pawn placed by Maumoon and cronies within the judiciary to ensure any case against them in a court of law is decided in their favour. If this country is to find any semblance of peace we need to reduce the power and influence of Maumoon and cronies. It was not Afrasheem that was removed. It was Maumoons pawn that was removed.

  13. IfreetShame is just another fungus on the underbelly of the previous regime. At last the entertainment of this schizoidiot and his fake Arabic accent is at an end.
    Good riddance.

  14. This is why there's a need to reform Judiciary and why Afrasheem had to be removed.

  15. @Junaidh

    Tuna is proven to be good for the brain but in your case its obviously the testosterone that is using the protein before it reaches the brain... You sound like a typical elitist Maldivain who justifies all wrongs as normal.

  16. Hooray ! I never liked that Guy !

    Especially after hearing the leaked Audio clips where he phones commission members advocating for his personal gains....

    I wonder why DRP members continue to advocate for this guy...

  17. Or it could be that all the time,the average Maldivian man's mouth is full of killi and suparis! any given time of the day,the Maldivian man is too busy thinking about his next oily snack&the betel nut leaf..everything he does,he does for the next coffee and useless chat at the coffee house....maybe after a lot of tuna,finally they've come across some other stuff to eat on..undoubtedly all these vile guys are working for a cup of coffee&snack plus the red spit forming mouth freshener!!!:D


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