The Family Court has thrown out two investigators from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).
ACC President Hassan Luthfee told local media the two investigators had gone to the court last Thursday (May 15) with a warrant from the commission but court officials refused them entry.
“We have faced this issue with [government] offices before. It is very concerning that this is happening in the judiciary or the courts,” Luthfee told newspaper Haveeru.
The ACC will continue with its legal obligations despite challenges, he added.
A Family Court official denied the allegations, but declined to comment on the matter further. Local media have said this is the second time the ACC has been denied access to the Family Court.
In December, Luthfy said government companies passed board resolutions to prevent the ACC from accessing information. He then urged the government to pass an anti-corruption bill stating that the biggest obstacle to the fight against corruption was lack of laws on the issue.
The ACC currently relies on the outdated law on Prevention and Prohibition of Corruption passed in 2000 under former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
The commission’s ability to prevent state institutions from proceeding with questionable agreements has also been hampered by a Supreme Court verdict in September 2013.
The ruling said the ACC did not have the legal authority to stop the Department of Immigration and Emigration from signing a contract with Malaysian mobile security firm Nexbis in 2010, to establish a border control system (BCS).
Recently, the Malé City Council cited the ruling in its refusal to abide by the ACC’s instruction to cancel a contract on holding a night market in the capital.
Meanwhile. President Abdulla Yameen last week urged the ACC to expedite investigations involving infrastructure projects worth “hundreds of millions of rufiyaa” claiming the government is facing losses due to delays.
The ACC told the state broadcaster at the time that the commission has always endeavoured to complete investigations as quickly as possible in order to avoid losses to the public and the government.
The commission noted that recurring problems hindering investigations included having to provide a legally-mandated period for accused parties to respond to allegations after seeking legal counsel, as well as difficulties in obtaining relevant documents from state institutions.
According to a survey published by advocacy NGO Transparency Maldives in December, 83 percent of people surveyed felt corruption had increased or stayed the same during the past two years.
The Majlis topped the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) survey with 60 percent feeling it to be ‘extremely corrupt’, followed by political parties at 57 percent, the judiciary at 55 percent and the police at 34 percent.
A recent survey on public attitudes towards democracy also found 46 percent of the public have no confidence in the courts. Only 20 percent reported a great deal of confidence in the courts.