Special Operations officers raided Minister of Defence Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim’s home in the early hours of this morning.
Media reports suggest that masked officers forcefully entered the premises in the Galolhu ward of Malé at around 3:30am, searching the apartment of Nazim’s wife and the apartment opposite. They reportedly confiscated documents from Nazim’s home and left the scene at around 6am.
Nazim – also acting minister of health – was not responding to calls at the time of press. He referred other media outlets to police for the details of the operation, though police officials were refusing to comment at the time of publication.
President’s Office Spokesman Ibrahim Muaz has told the press that government has confidence in the defence minister.
“The government and the president has not taken steps against any cabinet minister,” Muaz told Haveeru.
“We believe the police will enter a government official’s home – or any persons house – only with legal authority,” he added.
The President’s Office has played down speculation of a rift within the cabinet in recent weeks, though Muaz responded today only to say that it was police who should comment on the Nazim case.
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.
Adeeb – hailed by Progressive Party of Maldives member as the cabinet’s ‘Prime Minister’ in recent weeks – temporarily stood in for his party colleague Nazim as defence minister earlier this month while Nazim was on an unspecified trip.
The most recent change to the cabinet saw Nazim take over the health ministry in August after the renomination of Dr Mariyam Shakeela was blocked by pro-government MPs. Shakeela later alleged a conspiracy and smear campaign to remove her from office.
The defence minister is currently challenging his dismissal from the position of chair of the Local Government Authority after board members voted to remove him from the position last week.
Nazim has been minister of defence since February 2012 – one of the first appointments made by Dr Mohamed Waheed who assumed the position following the controversial resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed.
Video footage on February 7 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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