Parliament’s independent institutions oversight committee last night decided against recommending for approval President Abdulla Yameen’s nominees for the vacant post of Prosecutor General (PG).
According to opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Rozaina Adam, the committee awarded President Yameen’s nephew Maumoon Hameed 33 percent and Criminal Court Judge Muhthaz Muhsin 67 percent following a vetting process.
A minimum score of 75 percent or marks is required for the committee to recommend a nominee for approval. The pair were interviewed by the committee last Thursday night (July 10).
Marks were awarded following evaluation of their academic qualifications, experience, competency, management skills, leadership qualities, achievements, and integrity.
The nominees will however be put to a vote on the People’s Majlis floor.
The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has a clear majority of the 85-member house with 43 MPs in addition to five MPs of coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).
The independent institutions oversight committee is comprised of five PPM MPs, one MDA MP, three MDP MPs and two Jumhooree Party (JP) MPs.
The final evaluation process took place at a closed session last night where opposition MPs reportedly awarded zero marks to both nominees.
In April, Maumoon Hameed failed to garner the required 39 votes in the previous parliament – falling just three votes short – four months after he was put forward by President Yameen.
Article 221 of the constitution states, “The President shall appoint as Prosecutor General a person approved by a majority of the total membership of the People’s Majlis from the names submitted to the People’s Majlis as provided for in law.”
The independent oversight committee in the 17th People’s Majlis had also rejected Hameed’s nomination after the lawyer failed to meet the assessment criteria.
“Approval is based on a preset grading scheme, and not on members’ opinions,” MP Rozaina told Minivan News at the time.
The PG’s post has been vacant since November following the resignation of Ahmed Muizz ahead of a scheduled no-confidence motion in parliament.
Moreover, Acting PG Hussein Shameem’s resignation in early May brought the criminal justice system to a halt after state prosecutors went on strike, citing concerns of a lack of accountability in the absence of a PG.
However, the Supreme Court ordered prosecutors to resume work “without any further excuse” and ordered the seniormost official at the PG office to assume the PG’s responsibilities.
President Yameen meanwhile refused to submit a new nominee to the 17th Majlis during the crisis and opened up a third call for applicants, announcing his intention to nominate Hameed – son of former Atolls Minister Abdulla Hameed – for a second time to the newly elected 18th People’s Majlis.
Meanwhile, at its meeting last night, the independent institutions committee also awarded 68 percent to President Yameen’s nominee for the Police Integrity Commission, Adam ‘Kurolhi’ Zahir.
The committee however approved the nominations of former MP Abdul Azeez Jamal Abubakur for the newly created post of Information Commissioner with 88 percent and Aishath Zahira for deputy governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) with 90 percent.