JSC demotes High Court Chief Judge Shareef to Juvenile Court

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has transferred High Court Chief Judge Ahmed Shareef to the Juvenile Court as a disciplinary measure more than one year and two months after he was indefinitely suspended.

The judicial watchdog revealed in a press statement yesterday (August 6) that Shareef was found guilty of ethical misconduct following an investigation of a complaint filed by seven of his colleagues on the High Court bench.

The JSC did not divulge any details regarding the allegations.

However, in June 2012, the Anti-Corruption Commission was asked to investigate allegations that Chief Judge Shareef met officials of Malaysian mobile security firm Nexbis in Bangkok, Thailand while a case concerning the firm’s controversial border control project was scheduled at the High Court.

Hulhumalé magistrate court

Shareef was suspended on May 29, 2013 while he was presiding over a case filed by former President Mohamed Nasheed contesting the legitimacy of the JSC’s appointment of a three-judge panel at the Hulhumalé magistrate court.

The judges were appointed to preside over the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party presidential candidate’s trial concerning the military’s controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

In April 2013, the High Court had suspended the trial pending a ruling on the legitimacy of the magistrate court bench.

However, the High Court case has remained stalled since Shareef’s suspension the following month – more than a year after the complaint was filed against him.

JSC Chair and Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla insisted at the time that the suspension was not related to the ongoing High Court case concerning Nasheed’s trial.

The suspension came shortly after the cancellation of a hearing in the Nasheed case which was scheduled at the High Court on the same day.

After voting against suspending Shareef, public representative on the JSC Shuaib Abdul Rahman told local media that the decision was made in violation of due process and JSC procedures as a report regarding the allegations was not presented to the commission’s members.

Shareef then challenged the JSC decision at the Civil Court contending that the suspension was unlawful. The court subsequently upheld the JSC decision in October 2013.


In addition to Nasheed’s case, a number of high-profile cases over which Shareef was presiding have remained stalled since his suspension, including an appeal by Fathmath Hana, 18, who was sentenced to death for the murder of prominent lawyer Ahmed Najeeb.

Shareef was also among the panel of judges hearing appeals from the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office over the acquittals of President Abdulla Yameen’s brother Abdulla Algeen on corruption charges and suspected drug kingpin Mohamed Hussain Manik.

According to the Judicature Act, the chief judge of a court has the administrative authority to appoint judges to preside over cases and make changes to panels. The Supreme Court had also ruled that acting chief judges do not have the authority to make such changes.

In June, the JSC appointed Judge Abdulla Hameed to head the High Court for a period of six months.

Meanwhile, in April, Nasheed asked the High Court to expedite the case concerning the legitimacy of the magistrate court bench.

Nasheed’s lawyer Hassan Latheef told Minivan News at the time that the former president did not wish to have pending criminal charges. Nasheed had previously said he was  “prepared” to justify the reasons for the arrest of Judge Abdulla and defend the decision at court.

In June, the High Court summoned members of Nasheed’s legal team to sign statements given at previous hearings.

Two of the three judges appointed to the magistrate court to preside over Nasheed’s trial have meanwhile been transferred to other courts. Judge Shujau Usman was transferred to the Criminal Court and Judge Hussain Mazeed to the Civil Court.

Meanwhile, according to the JSC’s annual report for 2013, the commission has yet to conclude investigations or make a decision regarding 106 cases, which were pending at the end of last year, including one complaint dating back to 2008 and four complaints from 2009.

In a comprehensive report on the Maldivian judiciary released in May 2013, UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, observed that a lack of transparency concerning the JSC’s proceedings “nourishes serious allegations of selectivity in the management of complaints.”


JSC denies reports of ethical misconduct case against new prosecutor general

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has denied allegations made by opposition-aligned private broadcaster Raajje TV that it had found Criminal Court Judge Muhthaz Muhsin guilty of ethical misconduct.

Muhsin was approved as the new prosecutor general by parliament yesterday following his nomination to the vacant post by President Abdulla Yameen and sworn in at a ceremony this morning.

In a press release on Sunday (July 20), the judicial watchdog body said it had not “concluded any complaints” against Muhsin.

“[T]he news reported by Raajje.mv and Raajje TV claiming that [Muhsin] has been found guilty of ethical misconduct is false and the commission regrets with concern that such false information has been disseminated,” the press release stated.

The JSC explained that complaints against judges are scrutinised by the commission’s complaints and investigation section, which submits a report to the ten-member commission for consideration.

The commission then decides to take disciplinary action following further investigation by a subcommittee after offering a 30-day period for the accused judge to respond.

JSC Spokesperson Hassan Zaheen told Minivan News yesterday that the commission could not confirm whether a complaint had been filed against a specific judge.

The JSC provides information to the public once an investigation has been completed and a decision made regarding a complaint, he explained.

“Anyone can submit complaints about judges, even if a person did not like the way a judge was walking on the street for example,” he said.

Judges “could not live in this country” if the JSC revealed to the media when a complaint has been lodged against a judge, Zaheen suggested.

Leaked report

Raajje TV reported this week that an investigative report into a complaint filed against Muhsin in April 2010 was completed on May 30 this year.

The leaked report showed that a subcommittee found Muhsin had violated ethical standards by allegedly attempting to prevent a suspect arrested for theft from being held in remand detention.

Muhsin allegedly called the investigating police officer and Criminal Court judges at the behest of the suspect’s wife.

In testimony to the JSC subcommittee, the police officer allegedly said that Muhsin had called him asking whether the suspect was in police custody and had sought information regarding the case.

The television station has stood by its news report, noting that the leaked investigation report bore the JSC letterhead.

Raajje TV also noted that opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MPs who evaluated Muhsin’s nomination in the parliament oversight committee had requested that information of the complaint be sought from the JSC.

However, the pro-government majority on the independent institutions oversight committee rejected the proposal.

Meanwhile, according to local media, the case in question involved former Chief Inspector Mirfath Faiz, whose husband was arrested for stealing a mobile phone in 2010.

In a Civil Court case over her subsequent dismissal from the Maldives Police Service, the Attorney General’s Office informed the court that Faiz had called Muhsin to save her husband from being taken to the Criminal Court to have his detention extended .


The JSC is tasked by the constitution with investigating complaints and taking disciplinary action against judges.

According to the JSC’s annual report for 2013, the commission has yet to conclude investigations or make a decision regarding 106 cases, which were pending at the end of last year, including one complaint dating back to 2008 and four complaints from 2009.

Other pending cases included 13 complaints from 2010, 16 complaints from 2011, 17 complaints from 2012 and 55 complaints from 2013.

The complaints against judges involved allegations of bias, lack of integrity, behavioural misconduct, discrimination, incompetence, procedural violations, inordinate delays in concluding cases, and breach of law and the constitution.

In a comprehensive report on the Maldivian judiciary released in May 2013, UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, noted that there was consensus on the view that the current composition of the JSC was “inadequate and politicised”.

“Because of this politicisation, the commission has allegedly been subjected to all sorts of external influence and has consequently been unable to function properly,” she wrote.

Moreover, the lack of transparency regarding proceedings over complaints, the criteria used to initiate proceedings, and JSC decisions “nourishes serious allegations of selectivity in the management of complaints.”


MDN to seek court order compelling JSC to reconsider Judge Hameed decision

The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) is considering seeking a court order to compel the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to reconsider its decision to clear Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed Mohamed of misconduct over his alleged appearance in three sex tapes.

Citing lack of evidence and the police’s failure to identify the individual in the sex tapes, the judicial watchdog decided last week that disciplinary action could not be taken against Justice Hameed.

In a press release today, MDN expressed “surprise” at the JSC investigating the case as a criminal offence as the commission’s constitutional mandate was investigating complaints involving ethical misconduct.

MDN noted that the evidentiary requirements or standards applied for establishing guilt in a criminal case differed from cases of alleged ethical misconduct.

The JSC’s “confusion” on this legal principle “offers room for the public to question the competence of the commission,” the MDN stated, calling on the oversight body to reconsider the case.

In a press statement explaining its decision, the JSC had noted that the police had closed investigations until new evidence emerged and that the sex tapes had been collected during an investigation into an attempt to blackmail a judge.

Moreover, the tape may constitute an act of espionage as it appears to have been filmed by an unauthorised body and it is against the constitution to obtain evidence by unlawful means, the commission noted.

The JSC – chaired by Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla – also referred to a contentious Supreme Court’s ruling on former Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chair Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, which stated that disciplinary action could only be taken with sufficient evidence.

Local media has since reported that the decision to clear Justice Hameed was reached unanimously by six members on the 10-member commission after Shuaib Abdul Rahman – public representative on the JSC – walked out.

The six members were Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla, Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Didi, High Court Judge Abdulla Hameed, president’s member Mohamed Faisal and lawyers’ representative Ahmed Rasheed.

The two remaining members – CSC Chair Dr Mohamed Latheef and Attorney General Mohamed Anil – were reportedly on holiday.

“Permanent stain”

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) also put out a statement yesterday (June 29) condemning the JSC decision, characterising it as a “permanent stain” symbolising “serious wrongdoing”.

With the JSC decision, the statement added, Maldivian citizens expecting judicial reform have “lost all hope” along with any confidence in the judiciary.

The JSC decision has set a precedent suggesting that engaging in sexual relations with prostitutes, which is then made public in a sex tape, “is not a problem at all,” the opposition party stated.

“Therefore, we note with serious concern that this country’s judiciary would henceforth be shaped by those standards.”

The MDP statement also referred to a JSC subcommittee recommending suspending Ali Hameed, which the party stated was wilfully disregarded by the commission, as well as documents of a corruption case against the apex court judge being destroyed in a coffee spill.

The JSC had strayed from the standards established for investigating ethical misconduct, stalled the investigation for over a year, and “sacrificed the independence of the judiciary and the constitution” for the sake of protecting Justice Hameed, the statement continued.

The Maldivian judiciary should learn that disgraced judges accused of corruption and blackmail should be suspended pending the outcome of a swift investigation, the party stated.

The presence of a disgraced judge on the Supreme Court – who most citizens believe has lost his integrity – threatens the independence of the apex court, adversely affects decisions of lower courts, and robs Maldivian citizens of their constitutionally guaranteed right to a free and fair trial, concluded the party.


JSC defends handling of judge investigations in face of criticism

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has maintained that it is following procedures in ongoing investigations, after criticism from both President Abdulla Yameen and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

President Yameen has called on the JSC to expedite disciplinary cases against judges, specifically highlighting the case against the Chief Judge of the High Court Ahmed Shareef.

“It is now exceeding over a year since the case was submitted. [Judge Shareef] is not required to report to work, he is under suspension. However, he is still getting paid. How can we accept this?” Yameen said earlier this week in Addu atoll.

Meanwhile, the MDP yesterday released a statement expressing concern about the delays in pursuing the cases against Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed, following the police’s recent announcement that investigations into Hameed’s alleged appearance in a series of sex tapes had been suspended.

JSC Spokesperson Hassan Zaheen told Minivan News that the commission was currently working on both cases.

“We are continuing to work in the investigation process of the case against Judge Ahmed Shareef,” he explained.

“Even in Judge Ali Hameed’s case, the JSC is doing what is necessary in the investigation stages. We are doing what is required of the JSC. It is none of our concern that the police have decided to file the matter,” he said.

He refused to comment further on the criticism levied against the commission.

Commission criticism

Speaking in Addu, Yameen highlighted the importance of JSC members being independent and able to review cases justly.

Adding that the law does not allow for any persons to be “kidnapped” or kept under forceful banishment, the president stated that “it is a deeply saddening journey to be forced to stay away from one’s job for 12 months and still continue to be paid”.

A High Court Judge is entitled to monthly pay and allowances summing up to MVR56,300 (US$3,651). Judge Ahmed Shareef continues to receive the full salary despite his suspension.

Shareef’s suspension came as he presided over a legal challenge to the legitimacy of the Hulhumalé Magistrate Court bench, which was handpicked by the JSC to oversee the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed for the January 2012 detention of Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Judge Ahmed Shareef was suspended by the JSC in May last year, more than 12 months after the initial submission of complaints in relation to potential corruption.

JSC Chair and Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla at the time claimed the suspension was unrelated to the Nasheed/Hulhumalé case.

The JSC subsequently contested the High Court’s jurisdiction to hear the case into the legality of the magistrate court – no hearings have been held in the Nasheed trial for over 12 months.

Nasheed’s legal team sent a letter to the High Court late last month, requesting the case be continued immediately.

Yesterday, the MDP said that the failure to proceed with the cases against Ali Hameed demonstrated the current state of the Maldivian justice system.

A statement released by the party noted that police had filed the cases into Ali Hameed’s alleged appearance in sex tapes, the JSC’s halting of the investigation into complaints against the same judge, and alleged destruction of  papers concerning a corruption case against Hameed being destroyed in a coffee spill.

“We therefore note that the criminal justice system of this country is one that has failed to deliver justice. That the cases against Ali Hameed fail to be investigated, and the surprising events that unfold if a case against him is filed at the courts clearly demonstrate the status of this country’s criminal justice system.”

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali refused to comment on the allegations today, stating “this government does not see it as necessary to comment on everything that the opposition MDP has to say”.


Opposition MP files four misconduct cases against Judge Abdulla Mohamed

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor has filed four cases of judicial-misconduct against the former Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The MDP in a statement (dhivehi) published on its official website claimed that the four cases filed against the judge had been based upon his misconduct during Hamid’s recent criminal trial.

Last October, Judge Abdulla Mohamed handed Hamid a six-month imprisonment sentence for his failure to comply with court summons in a case in which he faced charges of refusing to cooperate with the police.

However, Hamid’s conviction was quashed on appeal by the High Court, which held that the Criminal Court had not followed the established procedures in attempting to summon the MP to the court.

The High Court, in overturning the case, also reiterated that the Parliamentary Privileges Act at the time of Criminal Court’s issuance of the guilty verdict did not allow an MP to be summoned to court while parliament was in session.

In late November, the Supreme Court annulled several articles of the Privileges Act, including the clause that required all MPs – regardless of criminal conviction – to be present during votes. The Supreme Court’s move had prompted Hamid’s relocation from house arrest to Maafushi jail.

In the misconduct cases filed at the JSC – the state’s judicial watchdog responsible for disciplining judges – the Henveiru-South constituency MP accused Abdulla Mohamed of displaying outright rudeness towards him, stereotyping him as a criminal, publicly defaming him, and attempting to “politically” destroy him.

The MDP’s statement meanwhile added that Hamid intends to file more cases concerning the judges alleged misdemeanors,  including the fact that he had refused to provide a copy of the arrest warrant issued against Hamid.

Ghafoor was quoted in the statement claiming that he had only been able to receive the arrest warrant three day after the expiry of the warrant.

He also accused of the Judge of assisting the police to publicly broadcast his photograph in the media and implying him as a hard-lined criminal on the loose.

Controversies surrounding Judge Abdulla Mohamed

Shortly after the case, the JSC announced the transfer of Judge Abdulla from his position as Chief Judge of Criminal Court to the Chief Judge of the Drug Court as part of the commission’s shuffling of nine superior court judges.

In January 2012 Judge Abdulla was taken into military detention during the final days of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration after then-Home Minister Hassan Afeef had accused him of “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist”.

Nasheed’s administration listed 14 cases of judicial misconduct concerning the judge that included obstruction of police duty – including withholding warrants for up to four days, ordering police to conduct unlawful investigations, disregarding precedents set forth by higher courts, deliberately holding up cases involving then-opposition figures, and barring media from corruption trials.

He was also accused by the Nasheed government of releasing of suspects detained for serious crimes “without a single hearing” and maintaining “suspicious ties” with family members of convicts sentenced for dangerous crimes.

The controversial judge was also thrust into the media limelight after he released a murder suspect “in the name of holding the health minister accountable”. The suspect later went on to kill a witness to the case.

The JSC earlier in November 2011 found Judge Abdulla guilty of violating the Judges Code of Ethics by making a politically biased statement in an interview he gave to private broadcaster DhiTV.

However, the JSC’s attempt to take action against him ended in vain after the Civil Court overruled the decision – later supported by the High Court.

Minivan News was unable to get a confirmation from the JSC regarding Hamid’s case – Secretary General Abu Bakuru was not responding to calls at time of press.


Committee investigating supreme court judge’s sex-tape requests suspension

The sub-committee formed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to investigate the alleged sex-tape scandal of Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed has again requested for the suspension of the judge after his refusal to cooperate with the investigation.

“We have sent the request to the JSC to suspend Ali Hameed after the members of the committee found the need to suspend him. We don’t know whether commission would do it or not,” a member of the committee was quoted saying in the local media.

Speaking to Minivan News, a JSC member confirmed that a request had been received to the commission but had not yet made a formal decision regarding the request.

Local newspaper Haveeru has reported that the committee’s request for suspension of the judge was also due to challenges facing the commission – from both the JSC and the Supreme Court – due to Hameed remaining as sitting judge.

Furthermore, local media claimed that Judge Hameed had turned down requests made by the commission to come in for questioning.

Previous call for suspension

Last July, a similar call by the same committee to suspend the disgraced judge was disregarded by the full commission, who questioned the committee’s basis for such a request.

Judge Hameed was able to survive the committee’s attempt to suspend him after four JSC members voted against the recommendation.

The four members included President Mohamed Waheed’s Attorney General Azima Shukoor and his representee Latheefa Gasim – a member of the committee who supported the suspension in committee before later changing her mind.

The other dissenting members were then-parliament’s representative to the commission, resort tycoon and MP Gasim Ibrahim – who later lost his seat at the JSC following his decision to contest the 2013 presidential elections and then-Chair of the Civil Service Commission, Mohamed Fahmy Hassan. Fahmy had been dismissed by parliament in a late 2012 no-confidence motion over allegations of sexual harassment, before being reinstated by the Supreme Court in March 2013.

All four members defending Hameed said that there was “lack of sufficient evidence” to suspend him.

Police Investigation

Earlier this December, local media reported that police had sent a letter to the JSC in which it claimed the sex-tape probe had been stalled due to Criminal Court’s failure to provide key search warrants central to ascertaining Judge Hameed’s depiction in the videos.

The police had allegedly sought two warrants, one being an authorisation from the court allowing police to take a facial photograph of Judge Hameed for comparative analysis, and the second being a search warrant of Hameed’s residence.

Neither the police nor the JSC have confirmed the existence of this letter, though the police have publicly noted similar difficulties in its investigation without mentioning warrant requests.

Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz told media earlier this month that the police had been awaiting some key information from abroad regarding the case.

“We believe once we get this information [from abroad], more doors will be opened and more clues to the case will be revealed, to enhance our investigations,” Nawaz said at the time.

In sum, Nawaz admitted that efforts had not been fruitful in determining the participants, let alone whether it was Hameed seen fornicating with multiple foreign women inside the hotel room.

The sex-tape

Spy-cam footage allegedly depicting the Supreme Court Judge indulging in different sexual acts with multiple foreign women surfaced on local media last July.

In one such video, time-stamped January 24 2013, showed the judge fraternising with a topless woman with an eastern European accent. At one point the figure alleged to be the judge – who was only wearing a white underwear –  leans into the camera, making his face clearly visible.

Afterwards, the woman repeatedly encourages the man to drink wine from a mini-bar. “If I drink that I will be caught. I don’t want to be caught,” the man insists, refusing.

The case rose to prominence once more after the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the first round of the presidential elections in October.

Images and symbols depicting scenes from the sex-tape formed a prominent part of protests against the court’s repeated interference in the election.

The videos appeared shortly after a film – also involving Judge Hameed – began circulating on social media in which the Supreme Court Judge appeared to be discussing political influence in the judiciary with a local businessman.

The appearance of the videos also coincided with the arrest and release of Ahmed Faiz – a council member of former President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party and the then-project advisor at the Housing Ministry – while he was allegedly trying to sell a sex-tape of the judge.

As of yet, despite public circulation of the videos and widespread media coverage on the scandal, Judge Ali Hameed still continues to sit in the Supreme Court.

He had been one of the four judges who formed the majority ruling in the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the initial first round of the 2013 presidential election as well as the ruling that unseated two opposition MPs over a controversial case of undecreed debt.


JSC to disregard chief justice’s objection to transferring judges

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) – the state watch-dog of the judiciary – has today (December 12) decided to disregard the letter sent to the commission by the Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain objecting to its decision to transfer judges between Superior Courts.

The letter, sent by Chief Justice Faiz on Tuesday to JSC Chair and fellow Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed, stated that the commission’s decision to shuffle superior court judges was not valid as the commission did not have the necessary legal authority.

JSC member MP Ahmed Hamza – the parliament’s representative to the commission – told local media today that the commission members had discussed the letter sent by the chief justice, but the majority held the view that the objections towards the decision lacked any legal grounds.

“Even under the constitution and the JSC Act, the commission is vested with the power to transfer the judges,” Hamza told local newspaper Haveeru.

Speaking to Minivan News, JSC Member Sheikh Shuaib Abdul Rahman confirmed that such the decision.

However, the Secretary General of JSC Abu Bakuru told Minivan News that “although the matter had been discussed by the commission members, the JSC has not yet formally made the decision”.

Chief Justice Faiz in his letter to JSC claimed that, although Article 159(a) gives the JSC the authority to appoint, promote or transfer judges other than those from the Supreme Court, it “must not be interpreted as an absolute right”.

Faiz also contended that the Judges’ Act mandated that any transfer of a judge from his appointed court can only be carried out following deliberation with the Judicial Council – the seven-member bench of the Supreme Court .

List of Transferees

The JSC had earlier decided to shuffle nine judges from the superior courts based in the capital Male’, including the Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed who was to be transferred to the Drug Court.

Judge Abdulla Mohamed has previously been under investigation from the JSC, for allegations of ethical misconduct and obstruction of corruption investigations among others.

Apart from Judge Abdulla Mohamed, the JSC had also planned to transfer Criminal Court Judge Muhuthaaz Fahmy and the Acting Chief Judge of Juvenile Court Mohamed Naeem to the Drug Court.

Meanwhile, Drug Court Judges Mohamed Easa Fulhu and Zubair Mohamed and the Family Court Judge Ibrahim Ali were to be transferred to the Criminal Court.

The JSC also decided to transfer Family Court Judge Hassan Shafeeu to the Civil Court and Criminal Court Judge Abdul Baaree Yoosuf – currently serving an indefinite suspension by the JSC following a case of sexually assaulting a female state prosecutor – was set to be transferred to the Juvenile Court.

Article 159(a) of the Maldives Constitution states that, “The Judicial Services Commission is entrusted with the responsibility and power to appoint, promote and transfer Judges other the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court, and to make recommendations to the President on the appointment of the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court”.

Meanwhile Section 49 of the Judges’ Act 2010 refers to temporary transfer of judges from one court to another and states, “Temporary appointment of a Judge to preside over cases in a court will be decided upon by the Judicial Services Commission under the advice of the Judicial Council”.


Supreme Court Judge’s sex-tape probe stalled as Criminal Court fails to provide warrants

The police have been unable to proceed with the investigation into the alleged sex-tape scandal of the Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed, after the  Criminal Court failed to respond to police requests for warrants, reports local newspaper Haveeru.

An official from the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) – which is constitutionally mandated to oversee the judiciary – was quoted in the paper as stating that it had received a letter from the police noting that the Criminal Court’s failure to respond to requests for two warrants – made three months ago – had forced them to halt the investigation.

According to the unnamed official, the warrants sought by the police included authorisation for the police to take a facial photograph of Judge Hameed for comparative analysis with the videos relating to him, and a second warrant requesting the court’s permission to search his residence.

In a bid to verify the claim, Minivan News contacted the Criminal Court’s Media Official Mohamed Manik. When asked about the case, Manik told Minivan News that he would call back after reading the Haveeru article, though he not responding to further calls at the time of press.

Spy-cam footage allegedly depicting the Supreme Court Judge indulging in different sexual acts with multiple foreign women surfaced on local media last July.

The case rose to prominence once more after the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the first round of the presidential elections in October. Images and symbols depicting scenes from the sex-tape formed a prominent part of protests against the court’s repeated interference in the election.

The videos appeared shortly after a film – also involving Judge Hameed – began circulating on social media in which the Supreme Court Judge appeared to be discussing political influence in the judiciary with a local businessman.

The videos came after the arrest of Ahmed Faiz – a council member of former President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and the then-Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry – while he was allegedly trying to sell a sex-tape of the judge.

The public circulation of the videos and widespread media coverage on the scandal prompted both a police and a JSC investigation into the matter.

The then-Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has previously confirmed to local media that the police had been probing the case.

Police subsequently summoned Judge Hameed for questioning in the same month as part of its investigation into the video.

“We are currently investigating two cases concerning the video. One is the case of those who had been using the video to blackmail the people in it, and the other concerns the content of the video,” the spokesperson said at the time.

However, apart from the summoning the police remained largely silent on the matter.

The JSC – whose mandate includes looking into the disciplinary issues and ethical conduct of Judges – also formulated a five member sub-committee to probe into the matter.

The initial members of the committee included JSC Vice-Chair Abdulla Didi, commission members Latheefa Gasim, Ahmed Rasheed and two lawyers outside the JSC – Mohamed Anil and Hussain Siraj.

However, following Anil’s appointment to cabinet as the new Attorney General, he was promptly replaced by veteran lawyer and President of Maldives Bar Association Husnu Al Suood.

Minivan News attempted to contact Police Media officials and the JSC Spokesperson but they were not responding to calls at time of press.


Civil Court upholds JSC’s “indefinite suspension” of High Court Chief Judge

Civil Court ruled yesterday (October 9) that there are no grounds to annul the the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) decision to suspend High Court Chief Judge Ahmed Shareef, reports local media.

Shareef filed a lawsuit at the Civil Court for a second time against the JSC on June 20, 2013, challenging his indefinite suspension by the judicial watchdog.

The initial suspension came just hours after the High Court had temporarily halted the hearings of a case lodged by former President Mohamed Nasheed against the JSC.

Nasheed had accused the judicial watch-dog of exceeding its mandate when appointing the three-member judges panel to the Hulhumale Magistrate Court currently hearing a criminal case against him.

According to the JSC Chair Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla, the suspension of Shareef – amongst the three judges presiding over Nasheed’s case – was a “precautionary” measure while investigation of the complaint was proceeding.

JSC Chair and Supreme Court insisted at the time that the disciplinary action had no relation to the former president’s case.

On June 17, the first case submitted by Shareef – requesting the court issue an injunction halting the suspension – was dismissed by Civil Court Judge Hathif Hilmy after the claimant did not attend the hearing and failed to provide the court with a valid reason for his absence.

The Civil Court ruling stated that Shareef’s suspension did not violate Supreme Court rulings, Article 141 of the constitution, Article 38 of the Judges Act, or the JSC Act according to local media.

Additionally, the court ruling stated that it is not mandatory for the JSC to establish investigation committees in response to complaints, referring to Article 23 (a) of the JSC Act.