Council invalidates resolution to seize Gayoom’s house

The Male’ City Council has invalidated a resolution it passed yesterday to seize former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s house, 24 hours after the decision was made at a ‘sidewalk’ meeting held amidst a protest outside parliament.

Deputy Mayor Ahmed Samah Rasheed told Minivan News that the decision to invalidate the resolution was made at a council meeting at 5:00pm today, which the North Maafanu Councillor chaired.

“There were two proposals up for a vote,” he explained. “One was for invalidating the resolution while the other was to make a decision next Monday after considering the legal issues. But all the councillors were in favour of invalidating it. There was a difference of opinion over when it should be done.”

As the vote for the first proposal was tied at 4-4, Samah said that he cast the tie-breaking vote to invalidate yesterday’s controversial resolution.

While the Deputy Mayor said that he wish to comment on the reasons for the council’s decision, he revealed that President Mohamed Nasheed had expressed displeasure with the resolution.

“We met with the President this morning,” he said. “The meeting was not held about this issue but President Nasheed told us that he was very unhappy about it.”

The council’s decision has been roundly condemned by all parties, including the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) as well as the Prosecutor General (PG).

In a statement yesterday, PG Ahmed Muiz condemned the resolution, calling the decision “very irresponsible”.

The PG said that the constitution was clear that a person’s property shall not be taken without his consent unless a court of law issues a verdict to do so.

“In a circumstance that a court of law rules the seizure of property, it shall only be taken after paying fair compensation in return,” said the Prosecutor General, adding that the PG had a responsibility to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of people.

Speaking to Minivan News, Muiz insisted that the issue of seizing Gayoom’s house was a civil issue and that it should be solved by a court.

“Technically it is a civil issue, and the court has to decide on the issue,” he said. “They have to defend themselves in court.”

He also said the PG Office had not yet decided to take any measures to address the issue.

Meanwhile, former President’s son Faarish Maumoon today issued a press release to the local media saying that Kinbigadhoshuge was property of Gayoom and that his family would do all they could to prevent it from being taken by the state.

Gayoom’s family expressed concern that a state institution was attempting to seize property owned by others while the constitution stated that it shall be protected and respected, and that ultimately such decisions may harm all the citizens of the Maldives.

Samah had previously told local media that the council had sent a notice to Gayoom asking to evacuate the house within 30 days, but Faarish said it had not yet been received.


Male’ City Council to confiscate former President’s house during ‘sidewalk’ meeting

Male’ City Council passed a resolution today to seize the official residence of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Ma Kibigasdhoshuge, for the state with compensation.

At an impromptu meeting held outside parliament this morning amidst public protests, nine councillors of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) sat cross-legged on a red carpet decked out on the road and unanimously endorsed the resolution. The two opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) councillors did not attend the ‘meeting’.

Former Mayor “Sarangu” Adam Manik confirmed the council’s decision and defended the legality of the move.

“The meeting was a lawful meeting and all decisions made during the meeting will be lawful and shall be implemented,” insisted Manik, who also chaired the meeting.

However the former municipality head refused to comment any further on the matter.

Article 41(n) of the Decentralisation Act empowers the city council to seize private property “if necessary” after providing “fair compensation”.

Ahmed Nihan, spokesperson of the Z-DRP faction formed behind the party’s ‘Honorary Leader’ Gayoom, told Minivan News today that he did not believe the council’s decision was legal.

“How can they claim land owned by someone? Even the constitution states that everyone must respect others private life and house,” Nihan said. “The current government is helpless to rule the country.”

Nihan said that the Male’ City Council had violated the rights of the former President, adding that the council did not have the legal authority to seize land.

“The ultimate outcome of such decisions will be other island councils will start making such decisions in council meeting and will start claiming others’ properties,” he suggested. “Now also Kaafu Atoll Guraidhoo Council is claiming that the resort (Kandooma Island Resort) right next to the island is a part of the island.”

The DRP MP for Vili-Maafanu strongly condemned the decision made by Male’ City Council.

“It is another desperate action of the government,” he said. “Mad people like Adam Manik will do such things like sitting on the road and holding council meetings.”

Nihan argued that the Male’ City Council could not take the land without Gayoom’s consent.

“Although the council has decided to pay compensation in return for the land, still it cannot be taken without the consent of former president,” he insisted.

Nihan said that he was not aware if Gayoom had officially decided to take any action concerning the decision.