The Maldives Police Service has suspended investigations into Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed’s alleged appearance in a series of sex tapes.
“We have filed the Ali Hameed case. We do not have enough evidence to proceed further and it will only be opened again if we receive additional information,” a police media official told Minivan News today.
In December, Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz told the press the police had been unable to determine if the man seen fornicating with three different foreign women was Ali Hameed. The incident reportedly occurred in a hotel room in Colombo.
Nawaz at the time pledged to continue with the investigations with assistance from a foreign country. The police press conference followed local media reports that the investigations had stalled due to the Criminal Court’s failure to provide a warrant to take a facial photograph of the judge and a separate warrant to search his residence.
The judicial oversight body Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has meanwhile failed to take any action on the matter despite repeated recommendations by two subcommittees to suspend the judge for failure to cooperate with investigations.
The sex tapes first surfaced in May 2013 shortly after a film – also involving Hameed – began circulating on social media in which the judge appeared to be discussing political influence in the judiciary with a local businessman.
JSC member Shuaib Abdul Rahman and former member MP Ahmed Hamza have accused JSC President and Supreme Court Judge Adam Mohamed of stalling the commission’s investigation into the scandal.
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General (PG) has pressed corruption charges against Hameed over the illegal transfer of US$144 worth credit from his state-funded mobile phone in 2010.
But the Criminal Court has said case documents were destroyed in a coffee spill and has asked the PG’s Office to submit files again.
The auditor general discovered the offense in a 2010 audit of the Department of Judicial Administration and the case was subsequently investigated by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).
The audit also discovered that MVR13,200 (US$856) was spent out of the apex court’s budget to repair a state-owned car used by an unnamed Supreme Court Justice, later revealed in the media to be Justice Hameed.
According to the police report cited by auditors, the driver of the justice’s car was responsible for the accident, which occurred on January 23, 2011.
However, the official driver insisted the car was undamaged when he parked and left it the previous night.
Despite the findings of the audit report, in March 2011 the Supreme Court dismissed allegations of corruption reported in local media regarding phone allowances and use of court funds to repair Justice Hameed’s car.
Moreover, in September 2011, the ACC began investigating allegations that over MVR50,000 (US$3,200) of state funds was spent on plane tickets for Justice Hameed’s official visit to China in December 2010.
The complainant alleged that Hameed also visited Sri Lanka and Malaysia, both before and after his trip to China to attend a conference by the International Council of Jurists.
A return ticket on a direct flight from Malé to Beijing at time cost MVR16,686 (US$1,080).
Furthermore, in May 2012, the ACC revealed that Justice Hameed was among three sitting judges illegally occupying state-owned apartments.
The Maldives Bar Association in April has said Hameed’s continued presence on the Supreme Court bench contravenes Islamic Shariah and the norms of justice.
“Given the serious nature of the allegations against Ali Hameed, that the judge continues to hold trial contravenes norms of justice, conduct of judges, and established norms by which free and democratic societies deal with cases of this nature,” the organization said.
Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain has refused to comment on the issue, stating in January: “We are speaking about accusations. The Chief Justice will comment on the matter when relevant authorities decide on the nature of the accusations. How many other’s have also faced accusations?”
Images and symbols depicting scenes from the sex-tape formed a prominent part of protests against the court’s repeated interference in the presidential election of 2013.
Hameed was one of the four judges who formed the majority in the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the initial first round of the 2013 presidential election, the ruling that unseated two opposition MPs over a controversial case of decreed debt, and the ruling that removed Elections Commission President and Vice President for alleged contempt of court.