The Jumhoree Party’s Police and Legal Committee member Mohamed Haleem Ali has filed a case at the Supreme Court asking it to rule Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MPs Ali Azim and Mohamed Nashiz unfit to stay in their elected seats following the Bank of Maldives’ foreclosure on their loans.
“The civil court’s ruling number 935 of 2009 asks them to pay back the debts to BML. They didn’t. So I have submitted this case in accordance with subclause one of Article 73(c) and 74 of the constitution,” Haleem stated.
Subclause 1 of Article 73 of the Constitution of the Maldives states that a candidate for membership or a sitting member of the parliament would be disqualified if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as per court rulings.
Article 74 states that any question concerning the qualifications or removal of a member of the People’s Majlis shall be determined by the Supreme Court.
MPs Nashiz and Azim have been in parliament since the 2009 election, the same year in which the civil court order them to pay the BML debts.
Asked why Haleem was submitting the case nearly three years into the debt case, after the Civil Court had Thursday ruled BML could sell the mortgaged property in lieu of payment by the guarantors, he replied: “Their seats would have been lost after the first month’s failure to pay as per the court order anyway. They are only able to sit in there because the Supreme Court has so far not ruled on the matter.”
The Supreme Court has confirmed that the case submission has been registered at the court. However, a court official said that the court has not yet made a decision on whether or not to accept the case.
JP concerned Haleem acted without consulting party
JP Spokesperson Moosa Rameez said the party had no role in filing the case against the DRP MPs.
“In fact, we are very concerned that Haleem submitted the case without any consultation whatsoever with the party. He’s not an ordinary member of the party, he sits on one of our committees. He ought to have discussed this within the party first. We only learned about it when it was covered in local media,” Rameez said.
Haleem responded saying that he had submitted the case in his personal capacity, and that he felt no need to consult with the party on personal decisions.
“As a party, JP would never wish loss or harm on anyone. I have no comment on the party’s position. However, I did this as an individual, for the betterment of the society. I am a lawyer by profession and felt it was time to take the initiative to bring this to the Supreme Court’s attention,” Haleem stated.
All parties are picking on us as we are the most popular party: DRP
DRP MP Abdulla Mausoom declined from commenting on the case in court, stating that everyone has the right to submit cases to courts, and to defend themselves in whatever way possible.
“I do know, however, that all parties are picking on DRP now. This is because DRP is currently the most promising party for the 2013 elections. Everyone from MDP [Maldivian Democratic Party], PPM [Progressive Party of Maldives] to all the presidential candidates are feeling threatened by DRP due to our popularity,” Mausoom added.
MP Azim has previously alleged that the case of BML debts being scheduled to coincide with the voting on secret balloting during no confidence motions is politically motivated. Azim further alleged that President Mohamed Waheed had tried to intimidate him, asking him to vote in a particular way, offering to cancel the court hearings in return.
Azim had been promptly summoned back to court after he subsequently voted in favour of secret balloting.
DRP Leader Thasmeen Ali declined from commenting on these allegations, stating that he had “not yet discussed the matter in detail” with Azim.
“Now it’s the Supreme Court that will come to a decision on the parliament seat. I believe the court will rule on this in the correct manner in which it should be done,” Thasmeen stated.
Minivan News tried contacting DRP MPs Mohamed Nashiz and Ali Azim. Nashiz was not responding to calls while Azim’s phone was switched off.