Government rejects latest Nasheed appointee to inquiry commission

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) maintains a Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) is “on track” to commence its work, despite the government rejecting the latest nominee forwarded to represent former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The government has announced that the latest nominee, Lt Colonel Zubair Ahmed Manik, was not deemed fit to serve on the Commission. All of Nasheed’s previous nine nominees for the revised commission were immediately dismissed.

Lt Colonel Zubair was said to lack an “undergraduate degree as per the agreed terms of reference”, according to the government. The President’s Office told Minivan News today that it was unsure as to why Nasheed could not come up with a candidate “acceptable to the government and the people.”

The CNI was set up by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan following the controversial transfer of power that saw him succeed Mohamed Nasheed into office on February 7. The now opposition MDP has alleged that Nasheed was forced to resign under duress in a “coup d’etat” staged by opposition politicians, businessmen and sections of the military and police.

On April 16, The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (GMAG) warned it would consider taking “stronger measures” against the Maldives government should it not revise the composition and mandate of the CNI within 30 days over concerns about its impartiality.

A day before CMAG’s deadline, the government agreed to allow a retired Singaporean judge to co-chair the CNI, and also permit former President Mohamed Nasheed to appoint a representative to the commission. These revisions were endorsed by Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Don Mckinnon.

Following the visit of Mckinnon to the Maldives earlier this month, the government gave a press conference during which Attorney General Azima Shukoor outlined the conditions for Nasheed’s appointee.  These conditions were that an appointee must not have served in a political position in the past two years, must not have taken a public stand on the transfer of power, and must “be of good behaviour and integrity”.

The initial nine candidates fielded by Nasheed include MP and former MDP chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi, former Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam, former Youth Minister Hassan Latheef, former Education Minister Shifa Mohamed, former President’s Member on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) Aishath Velezinee, Nasheed’s cousin Hudha Ahmed, former Airports Company board member Ibrahim Saleem, and former President’s Office political appointee Fareesha Abdulla.

The Commonwealth has requested a “suitable nominee” from former President Nasheed be appointed to the CNI by June 1, 2012, so that the revised commission could begin its work by the beginning of the month.

“On track”

MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said today that the party had no comment on the government’s rejection of Lt Colonel Zubair as a nominee to sit on the CNI, whilst processes were “ongoing”.

Ghafoor did raise some concern that it did not “make sense” that the government, whose rise to power would form part of the CNI’s mandate, was allowed to impose conditions on an independent panel.

“I believe that CMAG will work under the assumption that the terms of reference for the CNI has to fit in with the wider guidelines for an independent investigation,” he said. “I therefore see that CMAG’s resolution [for an independent investigation into the transfer of power] will be completed and that everything is on track to ensure this.”

Having rejected the appointment of Lt. Colonel Zubair Ahmed Manik to the CNI, the government said it was also confident that work to appoint a Commission composition acceptable to itself and the Commonwealth was “on track”.

In a statement on the President’s Office website, the government claimed that former President Nasheed had continued to propose “generally unacceptable” candidates under a criteria it said had been agreed with the Commonwealth and CMAG.

“The administration agreed to the terms of reference of the CNI with Sir Don McKinnon, Commonwealth Special Envoy, including the criteria that all nominated candidates have to meet, to serve on the commission. The administration has invited former President Nasheed to nominate a candidate for the commission”, the statement read.

“The latest nomination is Lt Colonel Zubair Ahmed Manik who is a serving officer in the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) and does not meet the basic requirement of having an undergraduate degree as per the agreed terms of reference.”

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad today told Minivan News that it was “unacceptable” for Nasheed to send his “family members and cronies” as nominees to represent him on the CNI.

“Can [Nasheed] not come out a someone who is acceptable to this government and the people of the Maldives? At this point, Nasheed has not sent someone with the basic degree qualifications agreed on,” he claimed.

With the Commonwealth’s preferred date of June 1 to have the new CNI in place approaching, Masood added that the government would not itself be forwarding any potential candidates to represent Nasheed.

“We have decided at present to give the benefit of doubt to Mr Nasheed,” he said.


Alongside the representation of a retired Singaporean judge and Nasheed’s own potential representative, President Waheed has himself appointed three people onto the CNI.

The president has appointed Dr Ibrahim Yasir, Dr Ali Fawaz Shareef and Chair Ismail Shafeeu, Defence Minister under former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

The Commonwealth has previously said that the criteria outlined for members of the CNI must extend to all members, including the government’s own appointees as part of an agreement reached earlier this month.


PG receives charges against Former President Nasheed in Chief Judge arrest

The Maldives Police Service has today sent the case of the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdullah Mohamed to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Minivan News understands that under the submitted case, Former President Mohamed Nasheed could stand to face charges for his alleged role in ordering the detention of the judge earlier this year.  Any final decision to press charges will then be down to the prosecutor general.

The country’s judges and their conduct became a major focus for former President Nasheed in the run up to him being replaced by Dr Waheed in February, leading to eventual calls for international assistance on the matter.

Nasheed had at the time raised concerns over allegations of perjury and “increasingly blatant collusion” between senior judicial figures and politicians loyal to the former autocratic President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.


However, it is the former president who now himself faces criminal charges relating to the detention  of the judge.

According to sources linked to the case, the charges levied against Nasheed relate to the violation of article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, and for violation of Article 12 clause (a) of Judges Act (Act no 13/2010).

Article 44 of the Maldives Constitution states: “No person shall be arrested or detained for an offence unless the arresting officer observes the offence being committed, or has reasonable and probable grounds or evidence to believe the person has committed an offence or is about to commit an offence, or under the authority of an arrest warrant issued by the court.”

Article 12 clause (a) of the Judges Act states that a judge can be arrested without a court warrant, but only if he is found indulging in a criminal act. The same article also states that if a judge comes under  suspicion of committing a criminal act or being about to commit a criminal act, they can only be taken into custody with a court warrant obtained from a higher court than that of which the judge presently sits on.  This warrant has to be approved by the prosecutor general.

A police official today confirmed that the case regarding the judge’s attention had been submitted to the Prosecutor General’s Office today.

“Today at around 9:30 am, we have submitted the case [the arrest of Judge Abdulla] to the prosecutor general. We have completed all the necessary investigations required,” the police official said.

An official from the Prosecutor General’s Office also confirmed to Minivan News that the charges sent to it by police were against Nasheed.  However, the official refused to explain the exact nature of the charges, stating that the case was still being assessed by their legal team.

Spokesperson for Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Imthiyaz Fahmy said that he would not comment on the issue until after a party meeting scheduled to discuss the issue was held

Judge arrest

Judge Abdulla was arrested by the MNDF on January 16 this year, in compliance with a police request. The judge’s whereabouts were not revealed until January 18.  The MNDF had acknowledged receipt but not replied to Supreme Court orders to release the judge.

As Judge Abdulla continued to be held, Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizz later joined the High Court and Supreme Court in condemning the MNDF’s role in the arrest, requesting that the judge be released.

According to Muizz, police are required to go through the PG’s Office to obtain an arrest warrant from the High Court.

“They haven’t followed the procedures, and the authorities are in breach of law. They could be charged with contempt of the courts,” he said at the time.

However, following the controversial resignation of  former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, Judge Abdulla was released that evening after incumbent president Mohamed Waheed Hassan took over the presidency.

A second case involving Nasheed has also been sent to the prosecutor general by the police that involved the confiscation of bottles of alcohol allegedly found at his residence shortly after his presidency ended.

In a press conference, Deputy Head of the Drug Enforcement Department, Sub-Inspector Ismail Fareed, noted that all  people questioned regarding the case had fully cooperated.

However, Nasheed maintained that he had no part to play in the confiscated liquor bottles.


Just last month, Nasheed became the first president to be summoned before the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) regarding his role in the arrest of Judge Abdulla.

Nasheed used his testimony to claim that he had been informed at the time by the Home Ministry that the judge allegedly posed a “national threat” – prompting his eventual detention.

The former president additionally claimed that the Home Ministry had communicated with the Defence Ministry on the situation, which in turn led to the decision to arrest the judge after watchdog bodies like the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has raised alleged concerns over his ethical conduct.

“I was told Abdulla Mohamed would not comply with the police’s summons to investigate allegations [against him],” Nasheed later stated at a press conference following the meeting with the HRCM.

“The Home Minister wrote to the Defense Minister that Abdulla Mohamed’s presence in the courts was a threat to national security. And to take necessary steps. And that step, the isolation of Abdulla Mohamed, was what the [Defense] Ministry deemed necessary.”