President appoints Hassan Ziyath as new auditor general

President Abdulla Yameen has today appointed Hassan Ziyath as the new auditor general within one hour of gaining parliamentary approval.

Ziyath – who received the consent of the parliament at around 1.30 pm – was handed the letter of appointment by President Yameen at a function held at the president’s office around 2.30pm.

The new auditor general won the approval of the Majlis, with 59 of the voting members from across the parties unanimously supporting his appointment.

The nomination of Ziyath for the post by President Yameen has aroused contoversy as his brother, Abdulla Ziyath was recently implicated in a US$6 million corruption scandal alongside  tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb.

In an audit report released on October 29, then auditor general Niyaz Ibrahim accused Abdulla Ziyath – Managing Director of state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) – of illegally pushing through a US$6 million loan from state funds to two private companies.

The audit report was signed on the same day that the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives brought an amendment to the Audit Act requiring the president to reappoint the auditor general within 30 days of the amendments have been approved.

Ziyath was nominated out of the four individuals who applied for the post, which holds an equivalent salary to the president’s – currently at MVR100,000 (US$6500).

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had ferociously opposed the amendments, stating that the bill would allow the incumbent to be discharged without following the constitutional provisions for impeachment.

MDP MP Rozaina Adam on November 3 said that the party would challenge the constitutionality of the amendment, though it was subsequently with 36 MPs voting in favor and 22 against.

Meanwhile, Niyaz – who had served only three years of his seven year long term – told local media that he would not apply for the post again, instead choosing to challenge the constitutionality of the amendments in the Supreme Court.

While speaking to Haveeru at the time, Niyaz said that he received threats and intimidation from the tourism minister after he started investigating the corruption scandal.

However, Adeeb condemned the report as politically motivated, and accused Niyaz of colluding with MP and former Deputy Speaker of Majlis Ahmed Nazim to discredit him after he refused to back Nazim for the Majlis Speakership in May.

Adeeb also expressed dismay at reports that Nazim had attempted to link him with the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

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