EC extends local council application deadline

The Elections Commission (EC) has extended the application deadline for candidates who wish to contest in January’s local council elections.

Applications will now be accepted until 3:00 pm on December 10.

The deadline was extended to allow candidates to obtain criminal and debt records from the Maldives Police Services and Superior Courts.

The High Court, Criminal Court and Department of Judicial Administration have opened out of hours in order to serve the large number of requests for criminal and debt records.

The EC has said it expects over 4000 candidates to contest the 1118 seats in local council elections.

Political parties held primaries during the last week to determine candidates who will contest elections on their tickets.


Criminal Court open on Saturday to dispense criminal records checks

The Criminal Court is to open during this weekend to provide criminal record checks for those seeking to contest in January’s local council elections.

The Criminal Court is facing an unusual amount of traffic for criminal record and debt record checks with an estimated 4000 candidates contesting the 1091 local council seats.

In 2011, candidates had to sign a declaration stating they had no record of criminal activity or decreed debt. However, several councillors were disqualified from their seats after election and the Elections Commission amended its regulations mandating candidates to submit criminal and debt records with their applications.

Applications are due on December 8 and elections are scheduled for January 18.

The Criminal Court will be open from 9:00 am – 5 pm on Saturday.

Debt and criminal records will be made available on the day of request from the Criminal Court, local media reports.

In addition to the Criminal Court, the Department of Judicial Administration, the Supreme Court and the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) also provides records of criminal activity and debt.


Privatisation body to require criminal record checks for public company board appointees

Candidates appointed as directors on the boards of public limited companies in the Maldives will now face a mandatory criminal record check, according to local media.

Privatisation and Co-privatisation Board President Mohamed Amjad told Sun Online that any candidates appointed to the board of a public limited company will be required in future to submit their attested qualifications and a police report disclosing any criminal convictions they may have.

Amjad was quoted in local media as saying that the new review process would apply to all appointments made to boards of such companies in the future, with candidates also being checked to see if they have any pending debts owed to the courts.

The privatisation board has said it will also look to identify if a candidate also had relatives working for the same company.


Cabinet to reduce duration of criminal records to boost youth employment

The cabinet has discussed the possibility of decreasing the duration of criminal records to encourage greater youth participation in the workforce, after noting that many skilled youth job applications were being dismissed because of criminal records for minor offences.

The matter was presented by Youth Minister Dr Hassan Latheef on June 7 and the cabinet formed a sub-committee to study the issue.

‘’’The Cabinet members noted that youth accounted for over 43 percent of the population, and in the current job market criminal records were a barrier to job-seeking for many young people.’’

The President’s Office said that cabinet ministers had agreed that the existing system, which requires five year-criminal records, barred many educated and skilled youth with minor offences from gainful employment.

‘’Members agreed that lowering the current standards of establishing good character would increase the number of skilled job seekers,’’ President’s Office said.

The government will announce a procedure for conducting background checks of job seekers for criminal records, said the President’s Office.

Press Secretary for the President, Mohamed Zuhair, said the objective of decreasing the duration of criminal records was mainly to help recovered drug addicts who often have difficulties in finding a job due to their record.

‘’The government is currently discussing with all the concerned authorities such as Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS), Parole board, Clemency board and so on,’’ said Zuhair. ‘’When the amendment to the procedure is brought I think the duration of criminal records may be reduced to perhaps three years.”

Currently those arrested on suspicion of violating a law also have a criminal record filed in their police report.

‘’Incrimination is something that this government condemns. We are currently working to solve this issue,’’ Zuhair added.