Majlis amend laws over Rf600,000 a year retirement package to former judge with fraud record

The Majlis yesterday amended the Judges’ Act (13/2010) to award a Rf 53,250 monthly retirement package to former Interim-Supreme Court Justice Mujthaz Fahmy, who was found to have embezzled state funds in 1996.

Former Justice Fahmy claimed, by fraudulent means, Rf900 in overtime pay while working as a judge at former Court No.2 in 1996. A development that casts doubt over his moral character and according to the principle of hadd offences, whether he met the constitutionally-stipulated Islamic qualifications required for the bench.

According to a letter seen by Minivan News that was sent to the Justice Ministry by the Anti-Corruption Board in June 2009, former Justice Fahmy and another judge were said to have deliberately omitted their working hours from attendance records to carry out the deception, and to fraudulently obtain pay for work they had not done.

None of the 77 MPs who were present when the retirement package was passed yesterday raised the question of former Justice Fhamy’s fraud record, despite some MPs openly admitting the package was being introduced especially for the former Justice.

Dismissing any objections to the extraordinary circumstance where the nation’s legislative body passes a law designed for a specific person, Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed said, “Even though it may appear today that this is an amendment proposed for one person only, it is something that we have to do for the future.”

MP Rasheed also pointed out that the People’s Majlis passing a law for the benefit of one particular person is not without precedent. He asked members to recall another similar legislation passed with former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in mind.

MP Afraasheem Ali, who had introduced one of the amendments, also made it clear that it was a purpose-built package for former Justice Fahmy.

“I believe that it will enhance the strength of the country’s judiciary immensely if we were to award these benefits, as we have proposed in the amendments, to Mr Mujthaz, the judge who recently left the Supreme Court”, MP Afraasheem Ali said.

MP Afraasheem said judges are awarded high salaries and benefits to ensure their ethical and disciplinary standards, and that it is essential for them to continue to be able to uphold their dignity and impeccable ethical standards even after they leave office.

“If a retired Justice were forced to wheel a cart on the street after leaving the bench, it will not give them the respect and the love that they received in office, and still deserve”. That is why, he said, it was essential for Mujthaz – who was specifically named in the Majlis – to be awarded the package.

Constitutional requirements

Article 149 of the 2008 Constitution requires that only those who possess the stipulated educational qualifications and competence, in addition to a “high moral character”, are eligible for the bench.

It also stipulates that only those who “have not been convicted of an offence for which a hadd is prescribed in Islam, criminal breach of trust, or bribery” should be allowed on the bench.

Theft, big or small, is one of the hadd offences prescribed in Islam.

A judge’s required professional qualifications, as stipulated under the Constitution, requires education in Islamic Shari’ah or law in addition to a minimum of seven years experience.

Former Justice Fahmy’s education qualifications, although a matter of public interest, are not publicly available. Documents seen by Minivan News show that in addition to the “Sentencing Certificate” with which former Justice Fahmy first sat on the bench, he has undergone four other training programmes in the last 29 years.

In 1985, he attended a two-month “Training for Island Court Judges”; a four-month “Training to Upgrade Judges” in 1996 – the same year in which he was found to have made fraudulent claims for overtime; a month long “Computer Course conducted by CPL” in 1998; and a four-day training programme conducted for Maldivian Judges and Court Administrators in Singapore in October 2007.

According to these records, Justice Fahmy spent a combined total of roughly eight months –217 days – spread over a period of 26 years training for his career in the judiciary, which ultimately put him on the Interim-Supreme Court bench and has now provided him with the lifetime retirement package of Rf600,000.

The above total does not include the unspecified number of days it took him to acquire the initial “Sentencing Certificate”, but includes the month in 1998 which he took to learn how to use a computer.

There is no record of whether or not former Justice Fahmy had any formal education before acquiring his sentencing ‘sanadh’ or certificate.

A law degree takes an average of four years to obtain, and has higher entry requirements than most other faculties in the humanities.

Article 285 of the Constitution required that the Judicial Service Commission – established to oversee the professional, ethical and disciplinary standards of the judiciary – remove from the bench by August 2010 any sitting judge who did not fit the criteria stipulated in Article 149.

Former Justice Fahmy himself was the Vice Chair of the Judicial Service Commission from 2008 to 2010. He was removed on 7 August 2010, when the Interim Supreme Court was abolished and the Supreme Court proper established in its place. He also lost his seat in the JSC as a result.

MP Afraasheem, who introduced part of the amendments to reward former Justice Fahmy the retirement package, is also on the Judicial Service Commission and was a colleague of former Justice Fahmy.

MP Afraasheem is on record as having said that Article 285 is “symbolic”, suggesting that he does not regard the Constitutional stipulations concerning a judge’s qualifications and moral character as legally binding.

Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla, who introduced the amendments at Majlis yesterday, is in the Parliamentary Oversight Committee for Independent Commissions, with oversight of the Judicial Service Commission.

Speaker Abdulla Shahid is also a member of the JSC.

MP Afraasheem also proposed to the Majlis yesterday that the benefits package for retired Supreme Court Judges should begin from 7 August 2010. It was the day on which former Justice Fahmy was ousted from the two positions he held – the Interim-Supreme Court bench and the JSC seat.

Job benefits

Minivan News has also learnt that despite Justice Fahmy not having been a member of the judiciary for the last four months, he has continued to receive full salary and benefits “pending a decision by the Majlis”.

The salary for a Supreme Court Justice is Rf51,000, plus Rf20,000 in living allowances.

A “Special Car”, or “Kaaru Kolhu” as well as medical insurance worth Rf12,000 is also part of the monthly remunerations.

The amendments approved by Majlis yesterday also entitles a Supreme Court Justice who retires after 20-25 years of service to two thirds of a serving Supreme Court Justice’s salary.

If the retirement is after 25 years of service, they are entitled to three fourths of the salary. Benefits and other living expenses as well as state protection, and the status of a dignitary are also included in the package.

It will become law if President Nasheed ratifies the amendments within fifteen days of receiving them from the Majlis.

hadd offences

16 thoughts on “Majlis amend laws over Rf600,000 a year retirement package to former judge with fraud record”

  1. That Independence of Judges has been compromised, and no Independent Judiciary exists in the Maldives is a fact evident to the thinking mind. What remains unproven, simply for the lack of an Inquiry or Overseer, is that:

    (1) It is a pre-meditated, carefully strategized, long-term operation (a Silent Coup) per the Modus Vivendi agreed to between the former Government (i.e. the current Opposition and majority in Parliament) and “leaders” of the Judiciary;

    (2) The ground was prepared as early as 7 August 2008 when the Constitution was ratified.

    (3) The Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid and interim Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Saeed played key roles, and other high-level State dignitaries are implicated both from within the Judiciary and the Parliament (former Government).

    (4) The JSC was the prime tool for the control of the Judiciary, and the success of the Silent Coup.

    It is a notion so confounding that the media has shut their eyes and ears to the obvious. The fear of the media is not unfounded as judges and JSC have systematically intimidated reporters/media for daring to report on JSC and Court matters.

    The Modus Vivendi as explained to the Judicial Service Commission, on record, by Member appointed under Article 158(c) Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla, upon his arrival in the Commission in February 2010, was to keep Article 285 for "image" and not fulfill it. Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla replaced High Court Judge Abdul Ghani Mohamed, who was removed for non-cooperation in the operation, by a public resolution signed by three of the five High Court Justices, which included himself.

  2. I wonder why the law was not amended to offer a 1million rufiya a month to the embezzler Mujthaaz Fahmy. The law should also include provisions to give Mujthaaz a young girl and a private Jet and maybe a cape (so that he can fly at night delivering Justice).

  3. Mujthaaz Fakmy should be looking at avoiding to be at the receiving end in the court rather than gulping more millions of public funds, along with speaker Abdulla S$%t and AfraS#$t.

  4. Anni's government is one of the most corrupt governments our history has seen. I think we should first clean the government from corrupt elements.

  5. This is the "keep your mouth shut" package given to Mujthaz by the former government officials, with regards to the corrupt operations carried out then.

  6. I would like to thank Minivannews for not publishing a photo of that man Mujthaaz Fahumy in this article.

    The sight of the man brings bile up my throat. Can't they amend these bills to ensure that Judges look more human.

  7. “I believe that it will enhance the strength of the country’s judiciary immensely if we were to award these benefits" and
    "If a retired Justice were forced to wheel a cart on the street after leaving the bench, it will not give them the respect and the love that they received in office"

    Are they kidding? How would giving this corrupt non-qualified-ex-supreme judge more money, on top of what he has obviously sucked from the people for decades, enhance the strength of the judiciary? Does that make any bit of sense to anyone? What respect and love did this guy ever get? He has stolen and continues to steal from us. That really is hilarious, bravo.

  8. so wheeling carts is a disrespectful job? is that what Mullah Afraashim thinks? im sure pillaging the public coffers to put Mujuthaz fahumy in a car makes him more respectable. oh wait. it doesnt. even if mujuthaaz wears a crown on that cursed head we won't offer him an ounce of respect. I spit on mujuthaaz. and i spit on Afraasim for his disrespectful remark about people who work harder than him or his buddy Mujuthaaz but only get a fraction of what afraasim and mujuthaaz steal from the treasury for doing nothing but robbery and deceit.
    May Allah curse afraasim and Mujuthaaz to the lowest depths of Hell. and peace be upon the cart wheelers.

  9. "MP Afraasheem said judges are awarded high salaries and benefits to ensure their ethical and disciplinary standards".

    Hmm, let's see what the reality is. Yes, they're getting really fat salaries and benefits from public funds, our money. Their ethics and standards are worse than those of the lowly criminals that come before them.

    On top of that, they are also enhancing their already fat salaries and benefits by taking bribes from anyone prepared to bribe them.

    Nice work, if you can get it.

  10. Rf 900 or Rf 900,000. Fraud is fraud. If we continue accepting the precedent of rewarding corruption with a lofty income and lavish kaaru kolhu - where is the justice in that? i sincerely hope the president will have better sense than to sign this in as Law.

  11. WT b s anyone will the corruption case should not be getting this and besides what should such a huge sum be given for the person to be relieved from working a bullock cart after retirement.

    Some Majlis members alarmingly low level of competency, should be we do a nation IQ survey, should be make politicians like they do in china and India.

  12. One of the key factors of the lack of proffessional ethics in the judiciary is the dearth of trained individuals with interest in serving within the judiciary.

    The picture is not so bleak if one takes into account that justices with proper academic qualifications have joined the bench in recent years. However, it is my opinion that we must have patience when it comes to reforming an institution which has been systematically neglected for so long, owing to the fact that historically, the final appellate authority rests with the king, president etc. of the country.

    Concrete steps might be taken at the national level to accelerate the modernization of the judiciary. Such steps require the reform of training centers such as the Faculty of Shari'a and law within the Maldives College of Higher Education as well the Islamic Research Center. There are pressing problems at both institutions such as the lack of lecturers, funding etc. as well as the inability to establish more stringent entrance requirements.

    One hopes that the recently passed National University Act, when and if ratified by the President, may pave the way for better tertiary education in the field of law.

  13. I am shocked that he was allowed to occupy such a position even after doing wrong. We are better off without judges than have such people to pass sentences on others.

  14. MP Afrasheem: “If a retired Justice were forced to wheel a cart on the street after leaving the bench, it will not give them the respect and the love that they received in office, and still deserve”. That is why, he said, it was essential for Mujthaz – who was specifically named in the Majlis – to be awarded the package.

    Some people are meant to wheel carts on the street.

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