Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has decided not to suspend Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, who is currently under both police and JSC investigation following the circulation of a sex video apparently depicting the judge fornicating with an unidentified foreign woman.
Four members of the JSC voted in support of a motion on Wednesday to not suspend the Supreme Court Justice, over due to “lack of evidence”.
The decision disregarded the recommendation of the JSC’s own five member committee investigating the judge’s conduct in multiple leaked videos.
The four members who supported the motion to not suspend the judge included parliament representative, resort tycoon and presidential candidate MP Gasim Ibrahim, Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor, President Waheed’s representative Latheefa Gasim, and Chair of the Civil Service Commission, Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, who was recently dismissed by parliament in no-confidence motion over allegations of sexual harassment, but later reinstated by the Supreme Court.
JSC members Shuaib Abdul Rahmaan, Ahmed Rasheed and Abdulla Hameed did not support the motion.
Following the decision, JSC Deputy Chairman Abdulla Mohamed Didi and Latheefa Gasim resigned from the five-member committee investigating the matter.
The video of the Supreme Court Justice allegedly indulging in adultery came into media limelight following the arrest of Ahmed Faiz – a senior Council Member of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and former Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry.
Snapshots taken from the video began circulating on social media networks Twitter and Facebook, prompting a police investigation. The police formally notified all relevant authorities including the JSC, the Prosecutor General and President Waheed regarding their investigation into the case.
The JSC is also investigating a further two videos involving the Supreme Court Judge, including spy cam videos of Hameed discussing political corruption of the judiciary with a local businessman, and a meeting with former Immigration Controller Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim.
A question of “details”
Gasim Ibrahim had previously defended Justice Hameed during a campaign rally, claiming that the alleged sex-tape was a “fake”. He was criticised by former Attorney General Husnu Suood for breaching the JSC’s code of conduct.
Attorney General Shukoor defended the commission’s decision claiming that the five member sub-committee needed more details on the case in order to suspend the judge, claiming the decision not to suspend Hameed was to give the committee time to come up with these details.
“The motion was passed when called for a vote. Therefore it must be noted that there was no motion calling to take action against the Supreme Court Justice during the meeting,” read the statement by Shukoor, defending the decision.
Discrimination between judges
JSC member Shuaib Abdul Rahmaan told Minivan News the commission’s enforcement of disciplinary action towards higher and lower court judges lacked consistency, despite all judges sharing the same code of conduct.
“Criminal Court Judge Abdul Baari Yoosuf was previously suspended and asked not to report for work [during a JSC investigation into his alleged sexual assault of a female lawyer].
“However, in the case of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, despite there being much stronger evidence, the commission members are reluctant to take action. Last time, even Azima Shukoor and Gasim Ibrahim voted in favour of suspending Baari,” Shuaib said.
He dismissed Shukoor’s statement stating that a motion to suspend the judge would be re-tabled.
“No, there was no decision reached at the meeting to re-agenda the matter,” he said.
Asked about the specific details the commission was seeking from the sub-committee, Shuaib said that these carried no weight and would not change the course of the investigation.
According to local media reports, the decision led to a falling out between members of the JSC including its Vice Chair Abdulla Didi – who chaired the meeting due to the absence of the commission’s chair Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed.