Police Commissioner, Home Minister, refuse to appear before Government Oversight Committee

Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz has sent a letter to parliament stating that he will not appear before the Government Oversight Committee on advice from Attorney General Azima Shukoor.

In the letter Riyaz said the police accountability did not fall within the mandate of the committee, and that this was rather a responsibility of the National Security Committee established under article 241 of the constitution.

In response, chair of the oversight committee, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ali Waheed, told local media that the committee will examine the case further with a view to taking action against the police commissioner for refusing to attend the committee.

Ali Waheed noted that the Supreme Court has previously ruled that the parliament committees can summon anyone and that until now, Riyaz and other government officials had accepted this fact and attended parliament committees as requested.

The Government Oversight Committee has summoned Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel and the police commissioner to question them about a previous decision by police to boycott MDP-aligned television station Raajje TV.

The Committee has said it also intends to question the pair about the death of Abdulla Gasim, a bystander who died in motorcycle collision. Police had denied involvement, however CCTV footage of the incident that was subsequently leaked showed a police officer striking a suspect fleeing on a motorcycle with his baton, prior to the fatal collision. Police have defended the officer’s action as in line with regulations.

The Home Minister has meanwhile informed parliament that he cannot attend the committee hearing because he had to attend a cabinet meeting, and said he would then be out of Male’ for the rest of the week.