A probe by parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee into the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) report is meeting resistance from high level government officials, members have claimed.
Attorney General (AG) Aishath Azima Shakoor issued a letter to the Majlis Speaker Abdulla Shahid stating that the probe into the Commonwealth-backed report was a violation of the Parliamentary rules of procedure, local media reported.
“The work carried out by the Parliament’s Government Accountability Committee is out of the mandate assigned to it under the Parliament rules of procedure,” Shakoor told Haveeru.
“I stress that the committees do not possess the authority to deal with this report in any other manner.”
According to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, the committee has been a bipartisan effort following the “house rules” of Parliamentary procedure.
Nine of the 11 members, including MPs of the government-aligned Dhivehi Raiythaungee Party (DRP) and Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), were present on Tuesday (January 15).
The committee has been conducting a “normal” probe since December 2012 to determine whether former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation was made under duress, Ghafoor said.
“It is rather bizarre that after two weeks of committee meetings the Attorney General is suddenly opposed to business as usual. These allegations have arisen after hearings with people involved in the coup, such as Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz, Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim, and Chief of Defence Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam.”
Shiyam and Nazim refused to cooperate with the Committee, as advised by their lawyers. In response, the Committee filed a motion on Wednesday (January 16) requesting the Prosecutor General forward charges against them for violating the constitution with their non-compliance.
Meanwhile, President Mohamed Waheed refused to provide the interviews, tapes and statements given to the CoNI as per the Committee’s request, local media reports. The Committee made two previous requests in December 2012 before it adjourned for 10 days.
“Parliament’s job is oversight over the executive [branch] rather than the executive having oversight over us. Dr Waheed does not understand that basic concept of democracy,” Ghafoor told Minivan News.
“The Attorney General is doing the same, she has the general concept [of democracy] wrong. I don’t see what mandate she has to comment on procedures of parliament or question the powers of the committee,” he added.
According to Ghafoor, the committee will continue to conduct the CoNI probe – as they believe they are operating “by the book” – and compile the report. Their findings will then be sent to the Parliament floor, where the Majlis will accept or reject it.
Attorney General Shukoor was not responding to calls at time of press.