Minister of Defence and acting health minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim has been dismissed.
Spokesman Ibrahim Muaz tweeted that Nazim has been “expelled from his post due to an ongoing investigation”.
Moments later, Muaz announced that Major General (retired) Moosa Ali Jaleel had been appointed as the new minister of defence and national security.
Nazim’s removal comes just days after his home was searched by special operations officers, who reportedly removed documents after a 3am raid on January 18.
Speaking to the media this afternoon, Nazim said that recent events had shown that no Maldivian was assured of safety and security.
“This gives an alarming signal that entering any house, at any time and to do anything is possible. The defence minister is the most senior official standing beside the president,” he said during a press conference held at the studios of DhiTV.
“It is how things are in all parts of the world. If the situation is so that the minister’s house can be raided at any time, no Maldivian citizen will have safety and security”.
President appoints Mjr. Gen. Rtd. Mr. Moosa Ali Jaleel as the Minister of Defense and National Security. pic.twitter.com/Mray3bs570
— Ibrahim Muaz Ali (@SpokespersonMV) January 20, 2015
Both Nazim and the President’s Office had played down the incident earlier this week, with Nazim reporting that he was “unfazed”, while the President’s Office expressed continuing confidence in the minister.
“The government and the president has not taken steps against any cabinet minister,” Muaz told Haveeru on Sunday.
However, this afternoon, Nazim expressed his belief that President Abdulla Yameen had been complicit in the investigation.
“I do not believe that such a thing could have been carried out without the head of the state, the president, knowing about it,” said Nazim. “His excellency the president told me that he did know that police entered my home when it happened.”
Muaz told Minivan News today that the president had made the decision as a result of the investigation, but that his approval was not needed in order for police to initiate proceedings against cabinet members.
Investigations into tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb were reported to have been behind the president’s decision to curtail the powers of home minister Umar Naseer in August last year, removing the minister’s ability to issue direct orders to police.
Revealing few details of the raid, police told media on Sunday that they had been unaware the house searched was Nazim’s when obtaining the warrant. Media reports yesterday said that President Yameen had paid a surprise personal visit to Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed at police headquarters.
Nazim told the press that he had complied with all the police’s requests – providing statements, fingerprints, and DNA – and that he would continue to do so.
He is also facing a contest for his position as the president’s appointee to the Local Government Association as fellow board members approved a no-confidence motion against him last week.
The newly appointed defence minister Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel was formerly the chief of defence forces. Jaleel signed for the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives one year ago, saying that he believed the current government’s policies would ensure development and “save the country”.
After 32 years of service, Jaleel retired from the military in the wake of the controversial transfer of presidential power in February 2012.
In January 2013, Jaleel told parliament’s government oversight committee that he believed former President Mohamed Nasheed had “resigned under duress”.
Jaleel is among the senior military officers facing charges over the detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in the weeks prior to Nasheed’s resignation.
Nazim had been minister of defence since the transfer of power – one of the first appointments made by Dr Mohamed Waheed who assumed the position following the unrest of February 7.
Video footage on that day showed Nazim addressing mutinous police and military units gathered in Republican Square, saying he had delivered an ultimatum on their behalf demanding Nasheed’s unconditional resignation.
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