The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) intends to file a petition with parliament to remove Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizz from office.
The petition was announced during a party rally last evening at MDP headquarters during which MP Mohamed Shifaz requested MDP Chairperson MP Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik “do this on behalf of our members who are always calling for a better judicial system”.
Shifaz said there are “many reasons why we don’t have confidence in the PG, and why many politicians have legal issues with the PG not sending cases to court.”
“Also he has good relations with [Chief Criminal Court Judge] Abdul Ghazee, people say they are always having coffees. We believe they shouldn’t have this kind of relationship in public.”
Calling for the PG’s arrest, Fuvahmulah MP Shifag Mufeed accused Muizz of incompetency in investigating corruption cases.
“To be honest, it’s the PG’s obligation to investigate the alleged US$800 million corruption case and the fact that he has failed is testament to his incompetence and violation of constitutional law”, Mufeed told local media earlier today.
The corruption case implicated former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s half brother Abdulla Yameen for alleged involvement in an international money laundering racket involving the Burmese oil trade.
PG Muizz could not be reached at time of press.
Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has said the PG Office has not been contacted by MDP, but noted that nothing required the party to communicate with the accused.
“To remove the PG a party would have to first send the motion to a committee, which would forward the motion to the Parliament floor, where the motion would only be passed with a two-thirds majority,” Shameem explained.
“But previously the PG’s position has been that if the government files a ‘no confidence’ vote in Parliament, he will resign.”
Shifaz told Minivan News that the petition would be available for signing at MDP Haruge after 8:00pm this evening, and that all citizens of any party are invited to sign.
“Our main aim is to build a better judicial system. What happened in the past, we don’t want to see again,” Shifaz said, adding that the party hoped for 5,000 signatures. He said the matter still needed to be discussed by MDP’s parliamentary group.
Local media has reported that the party intends to submit the petition to Parliament within the next two days. Parliament is currently on recess until March. However, Parliament’s petition committee president and MDP MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed has been requested to expedite the process.
Nasheed said, “if I get any petition I will go according to house rules.”
MDP’s motion comes 24 hours after the PG sided with the High Court and Supreme Court in requesting the release of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.
Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed was arrested on January 16 for corruption and for “allowing his judicial decisions to be determined by political and personal affiliations and interests”, according to a statement by Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem.
The courts subsequently cancelled hearings, and the Supreme Court ordered the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) to release the judge. The MDNF today confirmed that the judge was still being held and no decision had been made regarding the court order.
PG Muizz yesterday told media that police are required to consult the PG before taking a judge into custody.
Article 223 of the Constitution requires the PG to “(a) to supervise the prosecution of all criminal offences in the Maldives” including “(d) to oversee the legality of preliminary inquiries and investigations into alleged criminal activity; (e) to monitor and review the circumstances and conditions under which any person is arrested, detained or otherwise deprived of freedom prior to trial.”
Police provided crowd control outside judge’s home at the time of the arrest.
MNDF confirmed that their officers had taken the judge into custody but did not wish to comment on matters concerning their level of obligation to the PG.
Meanwhile, in a hearing of the case filed by the judge against the police summon Deputy Solictor General Ahmed Usham said MNDF does not have the authority to make arrests related to criminal offences, reports local media.
Ushaam alleged that the Attorney General’s (AG) Office had received no details of the arrest except from what had been reported by local media.