Foreign ministry recalls high commissioner to Malaysia

The ministry of foreign affairs has recalled today the Maldivian high commissioner to Malaysia, who is reported to be a close associate of the jailed ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim.

The ministry in a press statement said the High Commissioner Mohamed ‘FA’ Fayaz had failed to “adequately promote Maldives’ foreign policy interests in Malaysia.”

Hours later, Fayaz announced his resignation from the foreign service on Twitter.

Speaking to CNM, Fayaz said he was unable to continue living in Malaysia any longer for personal reasons.

When asked if he would accept a different position with the government, Fayaz said: “I do not think I will be offered another job.”

Fayaz was the deputy minister of transport and communication during the controversial transfer of power in February 2012.

He then served as minister of state for home affairs and was appointed as the high commissioner to Malaysia in May 2014.

Nazim was sentenced to 11 years in jail on weapons smuggling charges. The police had found a pistol and three bullets during a midnight raid on January 18.

President Abdulla Yameen dismissed Nazim from the cabinet two days later, and he was arrested on February 10 on charges of treason.

Citing documents allegedly found in a pen drive with the weapons, police said Nazim had planned to attack the president, tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb and police chief Hussein Waheed.

In court, Nazim said the weapons were planted in his bedroom by rogue police officers on the tourism minister’s orders.

The ex-defence minister said Adeeb bore a grudge against him after he lodged a complaint with the president on masked men, reported to be police officers, cutting down all of Malé City’s Areca palms on Adeeb’s orders last year.

The media was barred from the hearing where state prosecutors revealed the documents from the pen drive.

But pro-government newspaper Vaguthu later publicised the documents claiming Nazim’s legal team “took pictures of the documents and sent to close friends.”

The leaked documents purportedly showed Nazim was planning to secure weapons from the state armoury to assassinate president Yameen.

Fayaz was to get support from the Thailand army “if necessary” to help Nazim assume the presidency.

Nazim’s lawyers, however, slammed Vaguthu for “blatantly false information” and categorically denied taking photos of the documents. They noted that court officers confiscated phones and searched lawyers with a hand-held metal detector before they entered the courtroom.

The documents also contained a chart showing the Yameen administration divided into factions led respectively by the president and Nazim.

Nazim’s “team” included Fayaz, the Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), Home Minister Umar Naseer, former Police Commissioner and current JP MP Abdulla Riyaz, former State Trading Organisation (STO) Managing Director Adam Azim (Nazim’s brother), PPM MP Hussain Manik Dhon Manik, PPM MP Ahmed Nazim, Youth Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, and President’s Office Minister Abdulla Ameen.

The president last week dismissed Maleeh without any explanation.

Following Nazim’s dismissal, the military dismissed Major Ahmed Faisal and Captain Ibrahim Naeem from the posts of head of the Special Protection Group (SPG) and Head of Armoury, respectively.