Hussain Waheed appointed new Commissioner of Police

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom today has appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed as the new Commissioner of Police, after his predecessor Abdulla Riyaz announced his resignation from the police force.

According to a statement published on President’s Office website, Hussain Waheed was presented with the letter of appointment during a meeting held at the office this Wednesday morning.

During the meeting President Yameen congratulated Commissioner Waheed on his appointment and discussed ways to further improve the police institute, read the statement.

Hussain Waheed – who according to local media was trained by the FBI – was seen with several high profile opposition politicians inside police headquarters on February 7, 2012 – the day on which former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration was toppled.

In the government of former President Mohamed Waheed Hassan that followed, Hussain Waheed – who was Assistant Commissioner of Police at the time – was duly promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Meanwhile former Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz, shortly after his resignation, told local media that he had stepped down because he now wished to serve the country in a different way having worked in the police force for 24 years.

“Last two years have been very challenging, but I was able to work really well. That [two years] is a new lesson, a new experience. Facing challenges is nothing. When I took charge [as Commissioner of Police], the whole country was set on fire. A lot of conflicts were going on,” Riyaz told local media outlet CNM.

“But we managed to hold a peaceful presidential election and a new government has taken charge now. I also believe I have served for a very long period in the police force,” he added.

Meanwhile in a statement released on the Police website, Riyaz had submitted his request for resignation last Tuesday, which coincided with the appointment of Umar Naseer as the new Minister of Home Affairs.

“During his time as the Commissioner of Police, the Maldives Police Service gained significant progress and development under the direct leadership of Abdulla Riyaz,” read the statement.

Authoritarian conduct

Both Abdulla Riyaz and Hussain Waheed have been subjected to public criticism since the toppling of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration, especially after police prevented the Elections Commission from holding the first re-vote of the first round of presidential election on October 19.

The Human Rights Commission in a statement released shortly after the incident described the action by the police as illegal and in violation of the constitution.

“It was established with certainty through the commission’s inquiries that [police] stopped the Elections Commission from taking anything out [of its office],” HRCM said at the time.

Last September, the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) held that Abdulla Riyaz as the Commissioner of Police had violated the Police Act and the code of ethics for MPS after he posted a letter on Twitter urging police officers not to vote for former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The PIC, based on its findings, requested the Home Minster to take “administrative action” against Riyaz under article 67(a) of the Police Act – a request which was never adhered to by the then acting Home Minister.