Atoll councilors entered the office by force, allege police

Police have accused Kaafu Atoll councilors of entering the Thulusdho island office without the permission of police, after the Thulusdho island court ordered police to hand over the keys. Police did not comply.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that ”police are still watching over the building. When the councilors entered using force, we did not try to stop them.”

Shiyam said that police have not yet given the keys to the councilors.

”I don’t think anyone gave them the key, so police are active in the area to watch over the assets and valuables inside the building,” he said.

Local media today reported this morning the police were “laying siege” to the Atoll Office in Thulusdho and blocking the entrance, but said later that the building was handed over to the atoll councilors after minor confrontations between police and citizens of Thulusdhoo.

On Saturday, in a council meeting held in the Kaafu Atoll Office in Maafushi, the newly elected Kaafu Atoll councilors decided to move the current Atoll office in Maafushi to its former premises based in Kaafu Atoll, Thulusdhoo.

However, after the decision was made, police confiscated the keys of the former Kaafu Atoll office in Thulushoo and councilors were not allowed to enter. Councilors then requested the island court order police to hand over the keys.

The Court yesterday ordered the police to hand over the keys to the atoll councilors, and also court ordered the police not to obstruct the work of Atoll Councilors.

In a meeting with the press today, Home Minister Hassan Afeef said that the councilors did not have the authority to decide where the council’s office should be located.

”The passed the resolution not after discussing with us,” SunFM quoted Afeef saying. ”There will be no law that gives authority to the council to decide where there office will be located.”

Meanwhile the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has expressed concern over the violence occurred in Thulusdhoo.

HRCM said that the commission was observing the commotion since yesterday and noted that it was “worsening day by day.”

”We call on all the concerned authorities to solve the issue by negotiating,” said the HRCM. ”And we all call on everyone to keep their actions within the law.”


Thakandhu Island office hijacked over jackfruit tree

A group of people hijacked the Haa Alifu Atoll Thakandhu island office on Monday after were unable to cut down a jackfruit tree on the land where they planned to build a pre-school.

Island Chief of Thakandhu said that he could not give information as ”the person who gives information is not here.”

However a person familiar with the matter told Minivan News that the hijackers was a group who were trying to establish a pre-school on the island.

He said the group was angry because “they were asking for a court warrant to cut the tree, but the tree belongs to a man on Thakandhu.”

He said the island court ruled to that the tree could be felled after payment of RF2000 to the owner.

”But the owner wants Rf 8000,” the source explained, “and he went to appeal it in the High Court.”

”So they have to wait until the High Court rules they can build the preschool, and that’s why they are  protesting.”

He said the group entered the island office the day before yesterday and blocked the island chief and staff from entering.

”The staffs working in the office were not able to do their work,” the source said, adding that “yesterday also they gathered near the island office with microphones and loudspeakers.”

He said the police came and dispersed the crowd yesterday, although nobody was arrested.

Police Sergeant Abdul Muhusin said the crowed was dispersed at 7:00pm yesterday.

Muhusin said that the people were gathered near the island office when police arrived the island at 3 pm.

State minister for home Ahmed Adil said he had no information about the case.


CSC claims ministers, councilors can’t take action against civil servants

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has claimed that according to the law the commission is the only body with the legal authority to dismiss or suspend a civil servant.

The commission has claimed that the councilor of Dhiyamigili in Thaa Atoll asked a civil servant to stay at home, an accusation which led to the Home Minister Mohamed Shihab being summoned to the parliament and questioned by Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ilham Ahmed.

Ilham on Monday asked the minister if a person in a political post could send a civil servant home.

The CSC released a statement which cited the minister as saying ”since a government’s office is established to provide services for the people, and as it’s the responsibility of the highest rank person at the time to manage it, I believe action could be taken.”

The CSC however claimed that “as article 46 [a] of the Civil Servant Act says, it is only the CSC who has legal authority to suspend a civil servant with or without salary. Ministers and councilors who are not among civil servants cannot ban a civil servant from coming to work,” the statement said.

Spokesperson for the CSC Mohamed Fahmy Hassan said the Home Ministry said had misled the people and claimed it was unlawful.

”If someone disrupts the peace, there are concerned authorities people should inform,” Fahmy said, ”there are departments with the authority to arrest and detain people. ”

He said that the commission never demanded or threatened any staff into joining a particular politcal party.

”The commission has never threatened a staff member hat he would be dismissed if does not join this party or that party,” he said. ”When we receive reports that a civil servant has broken the law, then we will take immediate action. ”

He notes that the councilor was not the authorised person to take action against the civil servant.

Island councilor for Dhiyamigili Adnan Ali said that it was the island chief who was asked to stay at home. But he did not give further information as he was ”very busy at the moment.”


Former island chief arrested for attacking island councillor in DRP meeting

A fight between the former Island Chief of Miladhu in Noonu Atoll Abdul Sattar Mohamed and Island Councillor Hassan Moosa escalated into a brawl on Saturday night.

Moosa told Minivan News that Sattar, also the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) President for the island, “defamed my character” during a speech he gave to a DRP meeting that evening

“So I went and asked him about it,” Moosa said, claiming DRP supporters broke the windows of the island office and damaged some of its property in the subsequent scuffle.

”He claimed that I am in debt,” Moosa said, ”and that I built my house using his money, so I went there and asked him why he was spreading untrue information.”

Moosa alleged that Sattar hit him in the face in full view of the police when he asked him “why he was misleading the people.”

Senior member of DRP at Miladhu, Ahmed Hassan, said the councilor broke into the DRP meeting with the intention of disrupting it.

”Moosa could not digest what Sattar said,” Hassan claimed, explaining that the island councillor and four others had appeared at the meeting to scold Sattar.

”Our supporters started shouting at him, so we told him to leave the place immediately.”

Hassan claimed Moosa kicked Sattar in the stomach, and described him as “a person who used to fight very often.”

Moosa claimed he did not hit anybody.

Head of Noonu Atoll police station Ibrahim Fayaz said Sattar was under arrest for hitting the island councillor, and that one other man was under arrest in connection with vandalism of the island office.

He said the police were currently investigating the case.


Councilor says dismissal was for failing to obey MDP

Councilor of Maavah Laamu atoll Waleed Zakariya has claimed he was dismissed from the post earlier this month because he failed to give into demands by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists on the island.

Speaking to Minivan News, Waleed said he has learned that he was fired on the request of an MDP member on the island who was unhappy with him.

“The MDP people who worked to get me fired asked me to do illegal things and made complaints to try and make me do those things,” he said, adding the actions they wanted him to take could not be taken “even by a dictator”.

Among the demands were repossessing parts of enlarged plots owned by Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) supporters and refusing to issue licenses and ID cards to them.

Waleed said some people demanded that he give out part of his salary to them and publicly refuse to provide any service to DRP supporters.

“I begged and pleaded with them and told them I can’t do those things, but they refused to accept,” he said, adding they believed the island office should pass criminal judgment on opposition members.

He added the government’s decision to dismiss him was very “irresponsible” as it was based on the complaints of “just three people”.

The three MDP activists in question had ties to high-ranking officials in the president’s office, he said.

Minivan News could not reach the president’s office press secretary for a comment at time of press.

While the MDP supporters claimed Waleed was ordered by the government to marginalize DRP supporters, Waleed said he did not receive any such orders. He had been councilor for 11 months prior to his dismissal.

A DRP supporter on the island told Minivan News that MDP “activists” did not like the councilor consulting opposition party supporters.

“They don’t even want to see him talking to anyone other than an MDP supporter,” he said.

Waleed said the DRP supporters on the island were happy with the job he had done. “I think the reason is that under my watch, I have rented out a lot of empty plots on the land to increase revenue for the people. When I took over the office, the total finances were Rf900,000. But, in these past 11 months, I have raised it to Rf2.2 million.”

MDP supporters are outnumbered by the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) on Maavah, which is represented by opposition People’s Alliance MP Abdul Azeez Jamal Abubakuru.

After the MDP supporters alleged in public that Waleed stole money from public coffers, the letter of dismissal was posted outside a popular café on the island.

Waleed said he had been approached by many islanders to express condolences and urging him to contest for the upcoming local council elections.

He said he was “100 per cent certain” that an MDP candidate would not win a seat.

Waleed said he still did not have any clear information about why he was fired when he was told about it on 3 December.

“It came as a shock to me. I said I’m at the office working right now and I haven’t heard anything either from the atoll office or the province office. And I have not been asked by anyone to clear up any information about my work. I said I found it hard to believe that I have suddenly been fired.”

He added neither the home affairs ministry nor the atoll office was informed of his dismissal even three days after the letter was sent out.