Majlis endorses full cabinet

The People’s Majlis has endorsed all 15 of President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet ministers.

Ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), coalition partners Jumhooree Party (JP) and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) as well as six members of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) voted to approve ministerial nominees.

The ministers were endorsed despite the Majlis’ Executive Oversight Committee’s decision to reject eight out of the 15 cabinet ministers on Saturday. The opposition majority committee said the eight were “ministers of the coup government” established after the controversial transfer of power in February 2012.

The MDP enforced a three line whip in rejecting the eight ministers, but had a free whip on voting for the remaining seven.

The six MDP parliamentarians who breached the three line whip are Abdulla Jabir, Zahir Adam, Ahmed Rasheed, Mohamed Rasheed, Abdulla Abdul Raheem and Ahmed Easa.

Two MDP parliamentarians – Ali Waheed and Alhan Fahmy – voted against all fifteen ministers.


During Monday’s vote, 73 out of 77 parliamentarians were in attendance.

Among the 15 cabinet members, Attorney General Mohamed Anil, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed and Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim received the highest number of votes in endorsement, with each minister receiving 64 votes.

Minister of Education Aishath Shiham and Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee received 63 votes each.

Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamal received 58 votes, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon received 55 votes.

Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb received 45 votes, with Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim, Minister of Transport and Communication Ameen Ibrahim and Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Muizzu each receiving 44 votes.

Minister of Finance and Treasury Abdulla Jihad, Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed and Minister of Health and Gender Aishath Shiham received 43 votes each.

Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer got endorsed with the least number of votes, receiving only 41 in favour from a total of 73.

Pre-vote Debate

The Speaker allowed one member from each party to speak on the parliament floor about the report prepared by the Executive Oversight Committee.

Progressive Party of Maldives MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla called on the parliament to endorse all members, specifically calling on opposition members to follow “the courageous example set by [MDP] Presidential Candidate Nasheed. He said that Yameen’s cabinet is compiled of the most capable selection of ministers that the country has seen to date.”

Jumhooree Party (JP) MP Ilham Ahmed stated that the constitution demands that all ministers be endorsed. “There will be no reasons for regret by endorsing this cabinet. In any case, if there arises a need, the parliament has a mechanism through which we can hold ministers accountable. Jumhooree Party will not shy away from taking action against any cabinet member, whichever party he may come from, should he do something that may cause a loss to citizens,” he stated.

Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) MP Ahmed Amir stated that “it is unacceptable to not be able to endorse ministers without appeasing a particular individual”, and alleged that the Government Oversight Committee had not acted justly in reviewing the cabinet appointees.

Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) member Riyaz Rasheed added that there is no appointee against whom questions of capability can be raised. He added that the parliament should not set any conditions when voting to endorse ministers.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed said that the party will endorse members as appointing ministers is the mandate of the President. He added that the party would employ a moderate approach in holding the government accountable.

Independent MP Ibrahim Muhtholib stated that all 15 ministers met the qualifications required in a cabinet appointee. He alleged that the committee had failed to present sufficient reasoning for their refusal to endorse over half of the cabinet.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik stated that the party’s members would vote to endorse those they saw fit, and not the rest.

“There needs to be an opposition that holds the government accountable, and today that role is ours. We are a responsible party and we will do what it takes to hold the government accountable, even if it means bringing citizens out on to the streets [to hold demonstrations],” he stated.

“MDP stands strictly against coup d’etats. And even if a baaghee [traitor] changes their clothes and comes infront of us, we can see that they still have the characteristics of a baaghee.”


The Executive Oversight Committee – compiled of a majority of 6 MDP members from a total of 10 – previously decided to reject endorsement of eight ministers.

The committee rejected endorsement of Nazim, Adheeb, Shaheem, Shakeela, Ameen, Jihad and Muizzu on the grounds that they were “coup ministers” as they had served in the previous Waheed administration.

The committee also rejected Home Minister Umar Naseer saying that various speeches given by him at political rallies made it “evident that he will not be loyal to Yameen”.


Cabinet Ministers attend parliament committee despite President’s orders “to shun”

Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim and Minister of Education Ahmed Asim have attended Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee despite President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s orders to “shun” committees.

The committee summoned the two ministers to attend its meeting at 10:00am on Tuesday over a decision to construct an airport in the island of Maafaru in Noonu Atoll, and the ongoing protests in the same island since December 30, 2012 due to a lack of basic services.

The committee, in its meeting on Monday, had also agreed to send out an official parliamentary order summoning them if ministers refused to attend the committee meeting as they were initially asked to.

Meanwhile, President Waheed had informed Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid through a letter on Sunday that cabinet members, government officials and members of the security forces will “shun” the committee. Waheed had stated then that this “shun” would be in place until Shahid is able to ensure parliament actions are “in line” with the Constitution of the Maldives and the parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Speaking at the committee meeting today, Nazim said the government would very soon be announcing openings for bidding to construct the island’s airport.

Nazim is reported as saying that since the project is not included in the state budget, it could only be carried out through corporate social responsibility projects. He stated that the government is willing to give “one or two” islands to persons willing to take on the project.

Maafaru Councillor Anwar Abdul Ghani, who was also present at today’s committee meeting, responded that they did not want the airport if it would not come with a sewerage system and jetty as per the initial plans.

Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim and Minister of Education Ahmed Asim were not responding to calls at the time of press.


Former military, police intelligence chiefs claim Nasheed had no choice but to resign

The former Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) chiefs have claimed that former President Mohamed Nasheed had no choice but to resign on February 7, 2012, following a police and military mutiny.

The allegations were made public after meeting minutes of Parliament’s Executive Oversight committee were published in the parliament’s website.

The committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the controversial transfer of power that took place. It has so far interviewed senior military officers, police officers and senior officials of both the current and former government.

Among the interviewees were  former Chief of Defence Force (retired) Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel, former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh, and former MNDF Male’ Area Commander (retired) Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi.

Others interviewed included former intelligence heads of the MNDF and police: Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam and Superintendent Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed.

On February 7 2012, a continuous 22 day protest led by then opposition politicians, religious scholars and later joined by mutinying military and police officers, led to the sudden resignation of President Nasheed. The protests were fueled following Nasheed’s controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed.

The ousted President subsequently alleged he was forced out of office in a coup d’état.  However, this claim was challenged in report by the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), which found the transfer of power legitimate and constitutional.

“No other way for Nasheed” – former Chief of Defence Force Moosa Ali Jaleel

Chief of Defense Force Moosa Ali Jaleel told the committee that the circumstances leading up to the resignation of former President gave rise to the fact that resignation was obtained by “illegal coercion”.

“I fully believe that President [Nasheed] resigned under duress,” he said.

Jaleel refused to describe the transfer of power as coup, stating that this should be decided by the court. However, he claimed that the transfer of power only took place because it involved assistance from the military.

“What I am saying is that the military was there when about 15,000 protesters gathered during protests of August 12-13 2004, but the government did not topple. There was a armed attack by the Tamil Tigers on November 3, 1988, and the government did not topple. But on February 7, 2012, during a protest of 2500, the government was toppled. I am referring to the statistics,” he said.

He added that the circumstances and the violent environment around the MNDF headquarters meant that “there was no other way for President Nasheed [than to resign].”

“The control of the MNDF Headquarters was not with the president, but it was exactly the way the Defense Minister wanted,” he alleged.

Jaleel added that no president could be sure of his safety when those officers who were supposed to look after his security began to call for his resignation. He would know his power no longer exists and his command no longer followed, added Jaleel.

“It is a coup” – former military intelligence head Ahmed Nilam

Former MNDF intelligence chief Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam echoed Jaleel’s remarks. Asked whether the toppling of Nasheed was a coup or a revolution, he claimed it was a coup.

“Academically speaking, the events on February 7 fulfilled all the essentials of a coup. It involved all the features of a coup that are widely accepted around the world. Some of the elements take place before the toppling of a president. Others take place spontaneously,” he said.

Nilam said he studied the events after the incident took place, which fitted an academic’s definition of a coup. However, Nilam also highlighted that it was up to a court to legally determine whether it had been a coup or not.

Asked if he had given the same details to the CNI, Nilam said he did given the same statement to the commission but it had not been reflected in its result.

He also reiterated that had not for the military assistance in the toppling of the government, there would have been no coup and Nasheed would not have been forced to resign.

“Police officers disobeyed their orders” – former Commissioner of Police

In his statement to the committee, Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh alleged that police officers who gathered in Republican Square on February 7 had disobeyed orders and their actions were grossly inconsistent with the Police Act, as well as professional standards established within the police.

Recalling the events, Faseeh said that he had done everything he could to control the situation but said there came a point where the officers had openly mutinied and disobeyed his orders.

“The actions of the police officers that night were unlawful. I am not a lawyer, so I can’t go into the details. But a lot of unlawful activities were carried out by the police,” he claimed.

However, Faseeh said that he did not know whether Nasheed had resigned under duress because he had not been present with him in  the MNDF headquarters.


Chair of Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee claims CNI report “flawed” based on the findings “so far”

The Chair of Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee, MP Ali Waheed, has claimed the August 2012 report produced by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) was “flawed” based on the findings of the committee “so far”.

The Commonwealth-backed report investigated the circumstances surrounding the controversial transfer of power in February 2012.

MP Waheed, of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), made the claim in a press conference held by the parliament select committee in the early hours of Saturday.

Waheed said many interviewed by the committee claimed the CNI report lacked “key information they had given [the CNI panel]”.

“Some have even claimed their information was wrongly presented,” he said, but declined to reveal the identity of those who made the claim.

The committee previously requested President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to hand over statements of key figures of the former government and military officials given to CNI. The request was rejected and a bid by the committee to issue a legal order demanding the information failed when a vote was put to the members.

MP Waheed on Saturday described the president’s refusal to share the information as a “blessing in disguise”.

“Some people who attended the committee [meeting] have told us that key information they gave was missing from the CNI report, and said they did not accept its findings,” he said.

The opposition-controlled committee is conducting a parliamentary inquiry on the controversial transfer of power, while also reviewing the CNI report.

A 22 day continuous anti-government protest led by then opposition figures, religious scholars and mutinying police and military officials, following the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, led to the sudden resignation of then-President Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed and his party later alleged he was forced out of office in a coup d’etat.

However in August 2012 the CNI formed by incoming President Mohamed Waheed Hassan and backed by the Commonwealth released a report declaring the transfer of power was legitimate.

As part of its present inquiry, the parliament’s committee has summoned former intelligence heads of the police and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), including Superintendent Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed and Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam.

Last Friday the committee summoned former SAARC Secretary General and Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed, former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh and former Police Superintendent Mohamed Jinah. It has also announced that two international experts will take part in assisting the inquiry for a period of two weeks.

“Huge crime against the state”

According to Waheed the parliamentary inquiry was “revealing” information suggesting a “huge crime against the state” involving individuals, leaders of political parties and senior figures within the police and the military.

“From what we have found out, the committee has come to the conclusion that the events very much involved the stakes of two pivotal figures. They are President Nasheed and President Waheed. This I say because the events involved people who were loyal to both Nasheed and Waheed,” he said.

He also admitted the names of several people have been floated within the committee who needed to be questioned in the course of the inquiry, including the former president and his successor. Others included former Home Minister Hassan Afeef, former Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu and key senior officials of Nasheed’s administration.

MP Waheed also reiterated that a lot of people had been hesitant to speak to the CNI as it was formed by President Waheed’s government and included senior figures of the events of February 7. Some of those people cabinet positions, Waheed said.

“In light of what we have come to know, a lot of people were eager to raise their concern and share information regarding the [controversial transfer of power], but they were not sure of the right person to should share their concerns with,” he said.

A similar notion was put forward by Dhiyana Saeed in her personal memoir, in which she wrote of a plot by Nasheed’s political opponents to assassinate him.

“I desperately needed to consult someone but who? … I couldn’t go to my associates on this side because now I didn’t know whose hands were tainted and whose hands weren’t. The politics was so bitter, so deeply divided and so polarized that if I happened to confide in the wrong person I thought what I had to say would be reported to the wrong people and covered-up,” she wrote, in her memoir.

Meanwhile, Waheed noted security concerns raised by those who appeared before the committee, claiming they were “at risk” for sharing such confidential information.

“Some individuals who have given witness to the committee have raised concerns over their security and requested security. The committee has debated the matter and already informed the speaker [of its views],” he said.

“I don’t deny the fact that we may need to summon more people in the coming days. Some of the names of people we plan to summon may not be even mentioned in CNI report,” he said.

Asked of former SAARC Secretary General and Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed’s allegations of assassination attempts against Nasheed, Waheed said the committee would look into the allegations.

“The committee will very seriously look into the concerns raised by Dhiyana of a plotted assassination of former President Mohamed Nasheed,” he said.

“Inquiry is not politically motivated” – MP Ali Waheed

Challenged as to the credibility of the report, given that the committee had an opposition majority, Waheed said that they had decided to look into the matter not based on any “political motives”, and that the inquiry was solely based upon “national interest”.

“The committee’s findings will not produce politicised results. We are summoning key stakeholders including those in senior positions in the government.  The findings will not be based on the word of one just one person. We will not include any allegation against anyone without verifying it,” he said.

He added that the inquiry was not about the two former presidents or about President Waheed.

“This is not about the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) or the MDP. This is not an inquiry carried out by putting key political actors in a single chart and drawing conclusions for political benefit.”

He also affirmed that no unverified claims would be included in the report.

“[The report] will be based on information given by key people in positions of the state, who by the constitution are obliged to give true information,” he said.

Waheed also expressed confidence the report will unveil the truth of what happened on February last year, and said the committee was even willing to go to a public debate with those who wished to challenge its findings.

Presidents Office Spokesperson Masood Imad was not responding at time of press.


Parliament committee to seek international expertise for CNI report review

Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee is seeking international experts to help oversee a review of the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) report.

Committee Chair Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ali Waheed said during a press conference yesterday (January 9) that efforts were being made to bring international experts in the fields of law and public inquiries to the Maldives for a review of the CNI report. The process is expected to take a minimum of two weeks.

The CNI report, which was released back in August 2012, looked into the circumstances surrounding the controversial transfer of power in February the same year. The report concluded that the change of government had been constitutional.

The government today dismissed the review as being politically motivated, while also rubbishing allegations that President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik had violated the constitution by not providing information from the CNI’s investigation to parliament.

Ali Waheed has claimed that the purpose of seeking international expertise was to ensure the autonomy and credibility of the parliamentary inquiry for both local and international actors. He added that parliament secretariat would make the announcement for applicants to fill the two positions at a later date.

The press conference was held right after the committee summoned the two former intelligence heads of both Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) and Maldives Police Services as part of the parliamentary inquiry.

Ali Waheed was not responding to calls at the time of press. However, he was reported in local media as describing yesterday’s meeting as one of the most “extraordinary, concerning and fearful” experience in his parliamentary career.

“The information the committee got from the [intelligence heads] surprised me. New questions have come up over what took place last year,” he said. “The former intelligence heads wept at today’s committee meeting.”


When questioned about the impartiality of the committee, which has a majority representation of MDP members, Waheed claimed that the committee has previously been mostly made up of former opposition parties under the former administration.

He added that the committee at the time, under an opposition majority, had taken major decisions against the former government such as endorsing the bench of the Supreme Court during former President Nasheed’s administration.

“If the Maldivian Supreme Court is deemed legitimate, than regardless of who controls the majority of the committee, its decisions would be binding as well. This committee will do everything it can to maintain its credibility and autonomy,” he told local media. “I hope that committee members and members who give evidence to the committee will also think about that. I want this inquiry to take place transparently.”

Constitutional claims

Five members of the Executive Oversight Committee today passed a motion stating that President Waheed had disregarded Article 99 of the Constitution.

Article 99 states that the [Parliament] or any of its committees has the power to – (a) summon any person to appear before it to give evidence under oath, or to produce documents. Any person who is questioned by the [Parliament] as provided for in this Article shall answer to the best of his knowledge and ability; (b) require any person or institution to report to it; (c) receive petitions, representations or submissions from interested persons or institutions.

When contacted today, Media Secretary of Presidents Office Masood Imad declined to comment, stating that he “was very busy”.

He requested Minivan News to ask the committee members as to what constitutional clause President Waheed was alleged to have violated by not providing the information to parliament.

Masood said yesterday that the statements given to CNI were not in public domain and therefore it would be President Waheed who would make a decision on the matter.

“That is a property of [CNI], but now that commission has been dissolved. So now whether to make the documents available in the public domain is solely up to President Waheed to decide,” he said at the time. “The commission was formed to release a report on the findings. The report is now available, that means it will have what is mentioned in the statements.”

President’s Office Spokesperson, Ahmed ‘Topy’ Thaufeeq also dismissed the committee’s motion claiming that it was a “political” decision.

In an interview given to Channel News Maldives today, Thaufeeq said that the new government has never tried to exert undue influence over the parliament.

“President Waheed has never even once violated the constitution. He is using the powers that have been vested to him by the constitution. He has never gone beyond his jurisdiction. Yesterday, the decision was made by a committee that had the majority of opposition MDP. That is a political decision,” he was quoted as saying.

Thaufeeq went on to accuse the People’s Majlis of trying to influence the day to day running of the government.

“Government reluctance”

Executive Oversight Committee member and MDP MP Ahmed Easa responded that any information from the executive power must be given to the parliament unless it concerns the national security of the state or involves critical confidential information.

“Any document the parliament requests must be given from the government unless its concerns the national security or critical confidential information,” he said. “Even if the information concerns national security interests, there are procedures in which it can be shared. So far government has not said that those documents fit into the said criterion.”

He also claimed that there were no legitimate grounds for President Waheed to ignore the request from parliament without giving proper reasoning. According to Easa, the action “clearly violated the constitution”.

The Kendhikulhudhoo constituency MP admitted that committee would face “huge challenges” in reviewing the findings of the CNI Report without obtaining the information of which the report was based on.

“For an example, CNI has clearly mentioned that there are issues within the country’s judiciary. However, it has not gone into details. So how can we find about the mentioned issues within the judiciary without obtaining the information on which such a conclusion was based upon. We need to find out based on what information had the CNI come to such a conclusion,” he explained.

“They are crying out loud saying that the findings in the CNI report was the truth. If so what we are saying is that the truth must have been obtained from credible true information. Why are they hesitating to share that information with us?”


Executive Oversight Committee summons former intelligence heads

Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee has summoned the former intelligence heads of both the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Maldives Police Service (MPS) as part of an inquiry into the controversial transfer of power in February 2012.

Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam and former Superintendent Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed were separately summoned today to attend the closed door meetings.

Nilam was summoned first at 12:00pm, with Hameed addressing the committee at 1:00pm.

According to local media, chair of the committee, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ali Waheed, said that the decision had been taken to hold the meeting behind closed doors to ensure any potentially sensitive intelligence information remained confidential.

The select committee last month agreed, with bipartisan support, to summon Nilam, Hameed and former SAARC Secretary General Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed.

The committee at the time decided that all three individuals would be summoned to parliament separately on January 9.  According to the local media, Saeed was to be summoned at 11:00am today, but requested that her hearing be postponed over personal issues.

Saeed is being summoned over a personal memoir released to the media last month.  The contents of the memoir included allegations that certain figures behind protests leading to the controversial transfer of power on February 7 had also planned to assassinate former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Failure to come to an understanding over issuance of a legal order

Meanwhile, the committee today failed to reach an agreement over issuing a legal order requiring President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik to provide evidence gathered by the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).

The CNI was charged to review the circumstances behind the change of government, concluding that the transfer of power took place constitutionally despite the MDP’s claims of a coup d’état.

The parliamentary committee had called for a vote amongst its members over whether to issue a legal order to obtain statements given to CNI by senior Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) figures and officials of the former government.  However, the vote failed to secure a required committee majority of 6 members to be passed.

Although backed by all five MDP members on the committee, the vote was short of a sixth and decisive supporter with government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan Hassan Manik voting against the motion. His fellow party member MP Ahmed Shareef abstained from the vote.

The statements that the committee had intended to obtain from the government included the accounts given to the CNI of former Defense Minister Tholthath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, former Home Minister Hassan Afeef and former Chief of Defense Force retired Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel.  The testimonies of former Male’ Area Commander retired Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh would also have been requested among others.

The committee had previously sent a letter to President Waheed requesting for him to provide it members with the stated documents.  The request was denied.

Some sitting members of the committee at the time expressed their dismay with the president’s response, arguing that the only option left for the committee was to issue a legal order.

However, in order to issue a legal order, the matter should be approved by an absolute majority of at least six committee members.

Following the failure to obtain a legal order today, MDP Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor questioned the government’s decision not to supply the information.

“There is absolutely no way as per the constitution where the executive can hide its actions from the parliament. The constitution has given the parliament immense powers in terms of government accountability to the extent that the government cannot even take a loan without parliament’s consent,” he said.

Ghafoor added that while the MDP held a parliamentary majority, it was aiming to conduct the inquiry with bipartisan support.

“We don’t want to make this a political issue. This is a national issue. We are trying to confirm the legitimacy of an installed government. Party politics is not what we are interested in,” he added.