MDP files corruption case in ACC over delay in HRCM report

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has filed a case in Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) alleging corruption involved in Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM)’s delay in releasing its findings concerning a police crackdown on protesters on February 8.

In a press statement released (Dhivehi) yesterday, the MDP alleged that HRCM was “deliberately delaying” the release of its findings for “political interests”, despite stating in local media that it had completed the investigation process.

“Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has stated in the media that they have finished compiling the report following their investigation into the violent police crackdown on protesters on February 8, after the toppling of the legitimate government by a coup d’état,” the party said.

“This party condemns the commission’s delay in releasing the report, which we believe is because of  political interests,” read the statement.

The MDP alleged that the actions of HRCM were in violation of the regulation on right to information, and claimed that despite the commission’s statement to local media stating that it had released the report, it was not publicised anywhere.

“When [we] requested a copy of the report, the commission responded saying that a copy of report would only be made available after the commission decided on the matter during a meeting held on Wednesday, August 15, and said that they had sent the report to MDP office. But as of now, no such report has been received,” read the statement.

The MDP in the press statement said that these actions suggested that “members of the commission are involved in corruption – the use of power and authority for the benefit of certain parties”, and that therefore MP Ibrahim Rasheed would submit the case to the ACC on behalf of the party.

The MDP also called on the commission to immediately release its report to the public without delay.

HRCM response

Following MDP’s statement, the HRCM released a counter statement explaining the procedures it follows after releasing a report.

“This commission acts in accordance with the stipulations of article 24(c) and 24(d) of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives Act.  Therefore, it includes issuing of the investigation report to the party that filed the case, and we also share a copy with those that we feel are responsible and the authorities,” read the statement.

Article 24 of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives Act (Act no. 6/2006) dictates the procedures which the commission has to follow after completing its investigations.

Article 24(c) states: “The commission should present a report of the investigation to the party that filed the case to the commission and to those which the commission believes should take responsibility.”

Article 24(d) states: “The commission should present its investigation report to the relevant authorities, and must advise them on way to which issues concerned in the report be not repeated again.”

HRCM in the statement said that the publicising of an investigation report would be decided after meeting held by the members.

The commission also claimed that the investigation into  the events that took place on February 8 was “not an investigation that was initiated following a case filed to the commission” but rather a “self-initiated investigation”.

The commission also claimed that the report had been sent to concerned parties on May 28, and had also shared “necessary information” with the public during a press conference on July 18.

Minivan News understands that the report has been submitted to the government, but has not been otherwise circulated.

February 8

On February 8, thousands of protesters who took to the street in peaceful protest following the controversial toppling of former President Mohamed Nasheed were met by a violent crackdown by police.

The political chaos was triggered after Nasheed rallied MDP supporters, declaring that his resignation had been under duress, and called for the freshly-appointed President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to step down and call for elections.

“Yes, I was forced to resign at gunpoint,” Nasheed told foreign reporters after the rally. “There were guns all around me and they told me they wouldn’t hesitate to use them if I didn’t resign.”

Nasheed’s supporters then clashed with police and military forces near Republic Square, and were repeatedly tear gassed by the police. Dramatic footage of the crackdown has been shared on social media. More videos uploaded showed police kicking and beating protesters on the ground.

A Minivan News reporter was injured following what he described as a baton charge by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s ‘Star Force’ officers.

“They were beating old women with batons,” he said. “It was just like the old days.”

Police also confirmed at the time that there had been injuries to protesters.

HRCM investigation

The HRCM condemned the police brutality against civilian demonstrators.

“We highlight the fact that a lot of civilians and police officers have inflicted injuries of varying degrees during the demonstrations organised by the MDP, which became a confrontation between police and protesters,” a statement read at the time. “With regards to the demonstration, this commission is in the process of investigating the matters under its mandate.”

Addressing police forces and the public, the commission requested both parties to safely support the rights guaranteed in Article 32 of the constitution, which provides for the freedom of assembly.

“We advise the police to maintain their actions to standards that would not lose the public trust on the police service and we call the public to support and assist the police in executing their duties,” read the statement.

On May 29, HRCM stated that it had completed the investigation of the event and stated that its findings were sent to the authorities including the Prosecutor General’s office and parliament.

HRCM member Jeehan Mahmoud at the time said all but one of its investigations into the government changeover in February, and the events that led up to it, had now been completed.

One more report into the alleged human rights abuses conducted by police on the day of February 7 was left to be completed, she added.


Bill for Nasheed govt’s investigation of STO-Burma oil trade US$10 million: AG

Attorney General Azima Shakoor yesterday revealed to local media that the government has to pay US$ 10 million (MVR 154.2 million) to forensic accounting firm Grant Thornton following the firm’s investigation of the State Trading Organisation (STO)’s international illegal oil trade allegedly worth up to US$800 million.

In a press conference following reports that President Mohamed Waheed’s government spent £75,000 (MVR 1.81 million) on advice from former UK Attorney General Baroness Patricia Scotland, Shakoor announced that the government had received invoices for US$10 million from Grant Thorton.

However former Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed told Minivan News that the US$10 million was a ‘penalty’ fee that was only to be charged if the investigation was stopped.

“Grant Thorton was working on a contingency basis. Besides hard costs such as flights the investigation itself was free, and we only had to pay a percentage of the assets recovered. However if the government stopped the investigation – say if it made a political deal – then Grant Thorton would impose a penalty,” Dr Shaheed explained.

“As of February, Grant Thorton were ready with a criminal complaint, having obtained a number of documents relating to financial dealings from Singapore banks through court orders issued by Singapore courts. The documents revealed at least US$140 million defrauded between 2002-2004. There would of course be no penalty if the government suspended the investigation due to lack of evidence or progress,” Dr Shaheed said.

Following the controversial transfer of power on February 7 2012 that saw the ousting of President Nasheed’s government, the case fell silent – despite the matter having been forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office a week earlier.

Nasheed’s Presidential Commission on corruption, which had been charged with investigating the STO case and of which Dr Shaheed was appointed a member, was disbanded – one of incoming President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s first acts in power.

Burma oil trade expose

The oil trade first came into the limelight following an explosive article in India’s The Week magazine by Sumon K Chakrabarti, Chief National Correspondent of CNN-IBN, which accused former STO head Abdulla Yameen – Gayoom’s half-brother – of being “the kingpin” of a scheme to buy subsidised oil through the State Trading Organisation’s branch in Singapore and sell it on through an entity called ‘Mocom Trading’ to the Burmese military junta, at a black market premium.

“The Maldives receives subsidised oil from OPEC nations, thanks to its 100 percent Sunni Muslim population. The Gayooms bought oil, saying it was for the Maldives, and sold it to Myanmar on the international black market. As Myanmar is facing international sanctions, the junta secretly sold the Burmese and ‘Maldivian’ oil to certain Asian countries, including a wannabe superpower,” alleged Chakrabarti.

“Sources in the Singapore Police said their investigation has confirmed ‘shipping fraud through the diversion of chartered vessels where oil cargo intended for the Maldives was sold on the black market creating a super profit for many years,’” the report added.

Quoting an unnamed Maldivian cabinet Minister, The Week stated that: “what is becoming clear is that oil tankers regularly left Singapore for the Maldives, but never arrived here.”

The article drew heavily on the investigation report by Grant Thorton, commissioned by the Maldives government in March 2010, which obtained three hard drives containing financial information detailing transactions from 2002 to 2008. No digital data was available before 2002, and the paper trail “was hazy”.

According to The Week, Grant Thorton’s report identifies Myanmar businessman and head of the Kanbawza Bank and Kanbawza Football Club, Aung Ko Win, as the middleman acting between the Maldivian connection and Vice-Senior General Maung Aye, the second highest-ranking member of the Burmese junta – one of the world’s most oppressive regimes.


According to The Week article, the engine of the operation was the Singaporean branch of the government-owned State Trading Organisation (STO), of which Yameen was the board chairman until 2005.

Fuel was purchased by STO Singapore from companies including Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd, Singapore Petroleum Company and Petronas, and sold mostly to the STO (for Maldivian consumption) and Myanmar, “except in 2002, when the bulk of the revenue came from Malaysia.”

The “first red flag” appeared in an audit report on the STO by KPMG, one of the four major international auditing firms which took over the STO’s audits in 2004 from Price WaterhouseCoopers.

The firm noted: “A company incorporated in Singapore by the name of Mocom Trading Pte Ltd in 2004 has not been discluded under Note No. 30 to the Financial Statements. There was no evidence available with regard to approval of the incorporation. Further, we are unable to establish the volume and the nature of the company with the group.”

In a subsequent report, KMPG noted: “The name of the company has been struck off on 20th April 2006.”

Investigators learned that Mocom Trading was set up in February 2004 as a joint venture between STO Singapore and a Malaysian company called ‘Mocom Corporation Sdn Bhd’, with the purpose of selling oil to Myanmar and an authorised capital of US$1 million.

According to The Week, the company had four shareholders: Kamal Bin Rashid, a Burmese national, two Maldivians: Fathimath Ashan and Sana Mansoor, and a Malaysian man named Raja Abdul Rashid Bin Raja Badiozaman. Badiozaman was the Chief of Intelligence for the Malaysian armed forces for seven years and a 34 year veteran of the military, prior to his retirement in 1995 at the rank of Lieutenant General.

As well as the four shareholders, former Managing Director of STO Singapore Ahmed Muneez served as director. The Week reported that Muneez informed investigators that Mocom Corportation was one of four companies with a tender to sell oil to the Burmese junta, alongside Daewoo, Petrocom Energy and Hyundai.

Under the contract, wrote The Week, “STO Singapore was to supply Mocom Trading with diesel. But since Mocom Corporation held the original contact, the company was entitled to commission of nearly 40 percent of the profits.”

That commission was to be deposited in an United Overseas Bank account in Singapore, “a US dollar account held solely by Rashid. So, the books would show that the commission was being paid to Mocom, but Rashid would pocket it.”

In a second example cited by The Week, investigators discovered that “STO Singapore and Mocom Trading duplicated sales invoices to Myanmar. The invoices showed the number of barrels delivered and the unit price. Both sets of invoices were identical, except for the price per barrel. The unit price on the STO Singapore invoices was US$5 more than the unit price of the Mocom Trading invoice. This was done to confuse auditors.”

As a result, “the sum total of all Mocom Trading invoices to Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprises was US$45,751,423, while the sum total of the invoices raised by STO Singapore was US$51,423,523 – a difference of US$5,672,100.”

Furthermore, “investigators found instances where bills of lading (indicating receipt of consignment) were unsigned by the ship’s master.”

Money from the Maldives

Despite his officially stepping down from the STO in 2005, The Week referenced the report as saying that debit notes in Singapore “show payments made on account of Yameen in 2007 and 2008.”

Citing the report directly, The Week wrote: “The debit notes were created as a result of receiving funds from Mr Yameen deposited at the STO head office, which were then transferred to STO Singapore’s bank accounts. This corresponded with a document received from STO head office confirming the payments were deposited by Yameen into STO’s bank accounts via cheque.

The Week claimed that Yameen was aided by Muneez on the STO Singapore side, and by Mohamed Hussain Maniku, former STO managing director, on the Maldivian end until 2008.

“In conversation with Mr Muneez, this was to provide monies for the living expenses of his [Yameen’s] son and daughter, both studying in Singapore. Their living expenses were distributed by Mr Muneez,” the Grant Thorton report stated, according to The Week.

In a previous interview with Minivan News, Yameen confirmed that he had used the STO’s accounts to send money to his children in Singapore, “and I have all the receipts.”

He described the then STO head in Singapore as “a personal friend”, and said “I always paid the STO in advance. It was a legitimate way of avoiding foreign exchange [fees]. The STO was not lending me money.”

He denied sending money following his departure from the organisation: “After I left, I did not do it. In fact I did not do it 3 to4 years before leaving the STO. I used telegraphic transfer.”

Yameen described the wider allegations contained in The Week article as “absolute rubbish”, and denied being under investigation by the Singaporean police, saying that he had friends in Singapore who would have informed him if that were the case.

The article, he said, was part of a smear campaign orchestrated by then President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, a freelance writer and the dismissed Auditor General “now in London”, who he claimed had hired the audit team – “they spent two weeks in the STO in Singapore conducting an investigation.”

Yameen said he did not have a hand in any of the STO’s operations in Singapore, and that if Muneez was managing director at the time of any alleged wrong-doing, “any allegations should carry his name.”

He denied any knowledge or affiliation with Steven Law or Lo Hsing Han, and said that as for Mocom Trading, “if that company is registered, Maniku would know about it.”

Asked to confirm whether the STO Singapore had been supplying fuel to Myanmar during his time as chair of the board, “it could have been – Myanmar, Vietnam, the STO is an entrepreneurial trade organisation. It trades [commodities like] oil, cement, sugar, rice to places in need. It’s perfectly legitimate. “

Asked whether it was appropriate to trade goods to a country ostracised by the international community, Yameen observed that the trading had “nothing to do with the moral high-ground, at least at that time. Even even now the STO buys from one country and sells to those in need.”

Asked why the President would hire a freelance writer to smear his reputation after the local council elections, “that’s because Nasheed would like to hold me in captivity.”

The only way Nasheed could exert political control, Yameen claimed, “was to resort to this kind of political blackmail”.

“Unfortunately he has not been able to do that with me. I was a perfectly clean minister while in Gayoom’s cabinet. They have nothing on me.”

On February 1, 2012, the Presidential Commission set up during Nasheed’s administration to look into the malpractices of his predecessor Gayoom’s administration, sent the case to Prosecutor General for prosecution.

Parliament resolution

However, in June 2011, former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Musthafa presented a resolution to the parliament demanding the investigation by the parliament.

In the motion, Musthafa claimed that the article in the week magazine had outlined how the fraud was conducted to local media, and provided evidence.

His resolution requests an investigation into what it describes as “the biggest corruption case in the history of the Maldives”.

Issues relating to the Singapore-based joint venture that allegedly carried out the deal, Mocom Trading Pvt Ltd, which was used established to carry out this fraud, were first raised by audit firm KPMG, Musthafa noted in the resolution.

The resolution stated that later in 2004, audit firm Price Water House Coopers also audited the STO.

“This year the government handed the auditing to [forensic accountancy firm] Grant Thornton which found that the two audit reports contained legitimate concerns in their reports,’’ the resolution said.

Yameen dismissed the allegations and called on the government of Nasheed to investigate the allegations during the debate on the resolution.

He conceded that the STO did sell oil to Burma “but if you claim that the trade was illegal, you have to prove it first.”

Yameen added that STO senior officials alleged to be involved in the oil trade were still employed by the government: “They are now in high posts in the MDP,” he said.

“So if you dare to investigate this, by all means go ahead,” he continued. “I encourage that this be investigated. The other thing I want to say is that I have now become impatient. Even if they stack US$800 million worth of documents on one end of the scale, there is no way they would be able to prove [any wrongdoing].

“The documents are with the government. We did not take documents home with us when we left office,” he said.

Yameen claimed at the time that the Nasheed administration possessed a list of senior officials of the previous government who had purchased assets overseas.

“The government will have that list now,” he said. “Why is it that they won’t make it public? I know that this work was done under the World Bank’s stolen assets recovery programme [StAR]. This list will have people who are now helping this government, not anyone else. Why don’t you release the list?”

The MP for Mulaku claimed that the government had paid “over a million dollars” to Grant Thornton, without uncovering any evidence to implicate him..

“In such investigations, forensic accountants are given two or three weeks to complete their work,” he said. “[But] this has now been dragged out for over a year.”

Yameen said that he was “ready to sue” for defamation if a final report “under seal and signature of Grant Thornton” was made public.

“But there’s no way to file this suit because no official document has been released,” he continued. “All that’s been released are draft reports without any signature or seal that can be taken to court.”

Yameen added that “the US$800 million worth of trade was done with back-to-back LCs (lines of credit) in Singapore based on trust between one bank and another.”

“All the bank documentation is there,” he said, claiming that Grant Thornton had cleared out all the “invoices and documents” from STO Singapore so that “there’s not even one photocopy left.”

“How can eight or nine years worth of documents of a government company be taken like this?” he asked. “I know this for a fact.”

The right of individuals to be considered innocent until proven guilty was “a sacred provision” in the Maldivian constitution, he said.

The resolution was later sent to a committee to investigate by an approval of 52 – 11.

In his closing statement, Musthafa said that MP Yameen’s conceding during the debate that US$800 million worth of trade in oil did take place had “fulfilled the main purpose of my resolution.”

Counter claim?

The Attorney General’s revealing of the expenses of the Grant Thornton investigation comes a day after it was revealed that President Waheed’s government spent £75,000 (MVR 1.81 million) on advice from former UK Attorney General and member of the House of Lords, Baroness Patricia Scotland, in a bid to challenge the Commonwealth’s “biased” stance on the Maldives.

The Maldives was suspended from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) – the Commonwealth’s democracy and human rights arm – and placed on its formal agenda after former President Mohamed Nasheed alleged that his resignation on February 7 had taken place under duress.  Nasheed contended he was forced out of office amid a mutiny by police and armed forces, orchestrated by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and funded by several local wealthy resort businessmen.

CMAG swiftly challenged the impartiality of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) established by incoming President Mohamed Waheed to examine the circumstances of his own succession, and called on Waheed to hold early elections to restore the country’s democratic legitimacy.

After a number of countries – including the UK and EU – backed the Commonwealth’s stance, the government was pressured into reforming the CNI to include a member of Nasheed’s choosing and a retired judge from Singapore, GP Selvam. The reformed Commission is due to publish its findings in late August.

“The Maldives government is of the view that the Maldives has been placed on the [CMAG] agenda unfairly, and there is a general feeling that the Commonwealth and the CMAG view points are biased in favour of President Nasheed’s allegation of a coup,” the Attorney General’s office, stated in the terms of reference.

The terms of reference document for the contract, obtained by Minivan News, is dated May 28, 2012 and is signed by Scotland and the Maldives’ Deputy Attorney General, Aishath Bisham.  It also carries the official stamp of the Attorney General’s Office.

The story first emerged in the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper based in London.  The Mail established that the peer and former Attorney General had not listed the payment from the Maldives on the House of Lords’ register of members’ interests.

“Her entry says she has set up a firm to provide ‘private consultancy services’ but says it is ‘not trading at present’,” the Daily Mail reported.

In a statement, Baroness Scotland confirmed she had been “instructed by the Attorney General of the Maldives to give legal advice”, and slammed the leak of the terms of reference and “all communications passing between myself and the Attorney General, whether written or oral, pertaining to the nature and extent of that advice, as confidential and legally privileged.”

She additionally claimed to have been approached by both the government and the opposition (MDP), and said she had accepted an invitation to chair a roundtable “at which all parties are to be invited.”

“I am a senior barrister with specific expertise in the area of constitutional law, criminal and civil law reform, and am skilled in mediation,” she explained.

Baroness Scotland was previously scrutinised by the UK press in 2009 after she was found to have been employing an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper in her London home.

As the story emerged, MPs from the UK’s Conservative Party – which has long backed Nasheed and the MDP – seized the opportunity to attack the former UK Labour Party Cabinet Minister.

Conservative MP Karen Lumley told the Daily Mail that is was “disgusting that a former British attorney-general should take a well-paid job advising the new regime, which has no democratic mandate. President Nasheed was overthrown in a coup and the Maldives is now very unstable. Many of my friends there have been arrested by the new regime.”

Conservative MP John Glen told the paper that Baroness Scotland should “hang her head in shame”.

“What happened in the Maldives was a military coup,” he said, adding that it was “outrageous” that the former AG should be “advising a regime responsible for ousting a democratically-elected president.”

Former Maldives High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Farahanaz Faizal, described the government’s employment of Baroness Scotland as “absolutely shocking. If the government wanted legal advice to support the AG’s Office, the proper way is to request the UK government bilaterally.”

“To think that someone of her calibre would undertake an assignment to check if Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, Jamaica, and others of CMAG had acted against their mandate is disgraceful,” Dr Faizal said.

Following the reports, President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza in an interview given to local TV station VTV denied the allegations.

“It is not true that the government spent 75,000 pounds on a former British attorney general. It is part of the lies that the Maldivian Democratic Party is spreading,” Riza was reported as stating in Haama Daily.

President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad meanwhile told Minivan News “I think that case was handled by [President Waheed’s Special Advisor] Dr Hassan Saeed.”

“[Baroness Scotland] did consult with us during the time CMAG was pressuring us, and we sought legal advice as to how to proceed,” Masood added.

In today’s press conference, in contrast to Riza, Shakoor conceded that the claims made in Daily Mail were true and that It was normal for the government to seek legal advice on international matters.

“The government has previously sought international legal advice on several other issues including the Air Maldives case and GMR’s lawsuit against Maldives government in Singapore arbitration court over the Airport Development Charge (ADC),” she said.

Shakoor said that the case of Scotland was carried out similarly.

“We believe that the CMAG has put the Maldives in its agenda not in accordance with their own procedures and also their calls for an early election reflects that they did not do proper research on the Maldivian Constitutional mechanism, therefore we had to seek legal advice from Baroness Scotland,” he added.

MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor was not responding at time of press.


“Difficulties in getting phone call recordings”: Commission of National Inquiry

In a press conference held this morning, members of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) stated they have been having experiencing difficulties in getting the phone call recordings from the Telecommunications Authority (TAM).

However, the members said that the TAM had provided them with the telephone call logs.

“We are having difficulties in getting the phone call recordings. [TAM] does not see the importance of having a [regulation to release call recordings]. Apparently they can’t forward us the call recordings,” Dr Ibrahim Yasir said.

He further said that the CNI has been discussing with TAM on how they could share the recordings.

Speaking in the press conference, co-chair G P Selvam, a retired Singaporian Judge, stated that he was “trying to release a report that all members of the commission agrees to” but said that it was not “something he can promise”.

He also added that CNI will complete its investigation and send its report to the authorities on August 29, but the report would be publicly released on August 30.

Selvam stated that the press conference was the Commission’s final press conference before the release of its findings. It would not state against whom the state should press charges – this was for the Prosecutor General (PG) to decide, he said.

“This is not a criminal investigation, and we don’t have the authority to call on the PG to press charges against specific people,” he said.

Asked if the report would be released in a fashion that would ease the ongoing political tensions, Selvam said the CNI did not need to see what was going on in the current political situation, as its only focus was to see whether the former President Nasheed was toppled illegitimately or not.

“We will not release a timeline, we will release a full report, and the CNI will not consider what may happen after the report is released,” Selvam said.

“We do not want to omit any names, but it may be we will not be able to include all 260 individuals who were interviewed. We will not keep from disclosing any information with the excuse of national interest,” he added.

Dr Ali Fawaz Shareef in the press conference stated that they would release one report, and that there would not be a separate report for the authorities.

He further stated that the commission has already interviewed 269 people, and only 16 people remains to be interviewed.

The members also highlighted that two institutions had not cooperated with the inquiry, but said that in general most institutions were very supportive.

They also highlighted that the commission had received reports published by others, including the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s report on the transfer of power written by two former ministers, Ameen Faisal and Mohamed Aslam.

During the press briefing, the members of the CNI announced that Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) Major General Ahmed Shiyam had shared his bank statement with the commission.

Shiyam had told the CNI that he had no objection to revealing his account details to the public, and therefore Selvam said that the CNI report would include an attached copy of his bank statement.

“Major General Shiyam has told us that he has no objection to revealing the details of his bank accounts to the public,” Selvam said.

He further added that there were several other notable figures who had agreed to share their bank statements with the commission, but did not reveal their names.

CNI deadline August 29

Initially, the commission was mandated to release its findings on July 31, but CNI members stated that their final report will be delayed, after hundreds of people have come forward offering new information.

CNI Co-chair Selvam at the time said that the new date for the report’s completion would be the end of August, which would be discussed with the government. The original deadline was July 31.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s member on the Commission, Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed, said at the time that 244 people had registered to provide information to the commission following the reforming of the CNI.

“There has been a lot of interest. We will speak to each and every single one,” he said.

The new names joined the 87 spoken to by the government’s original three member panel, taking the total number of contributors to 331.

“That’s one contributor for every 1000 of population,” Saeed remarked.

Following the remarks by the commission, President Mohamed Waheed Hassan extended the deadline by which the CNI must conclude its report into February’s transfer of power by August 30, 2012.

President’s Office confirmed yesterday that Dr Waheed had issued a decree approving the extension of the report’s deadline.  Once complete, the findings are to be submitted to President Waheed, Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid and the prosecutor general and attorney general.

The first three-member CNI was appointed by President Mohamed Waheed, following a police and military mutiny and Nasheed’s resignation, in what he and his party have described as a coup d’état.

Facing pressure from the Commonwealth and civil society NGOs, the government eventually agreed to reform the commission to include a retired Singaporean judge and a representative for Nasheed.

The former CNI subsequently released a ‘timeline’ into events that took place from January 16 to February 7. The MDP accused the commission of trying to prejudice the work of new commission, and then released its own version of events in response – the ‘Ameen- Aslam’ report based on interviews with the security services. The government described the publication of this report as a “terrorist act”.


PPM’s rally: MDP protesters “dogs”, vow to put Nasheed “in solitary confinement”

Members of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) have vowed to put ousted President Mohamed Nasheed “in solitary confinement”, at a rally held last night.

An approximately 300 PPM supporters arrived at 10:30pm to the Artificial Beach area, calling on the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to stop “attacking” the security services and bring peace to the streets of Male’.

Interim Vice President of PPM Umar Naseer, along with several council members of the party including MP Ahmed Nihan, Ahmed ‘Maaz’ Saleem and Deputy Minister of Transport Ahmed Nazim, led the rally.

Speaking during the rally, PPM council member Saleem said the party had been requesting the government bring an end to the MDP’s protesting for the last six months.

“One month after the transfer of power, we went and asked the government to put an end to the street activities but nothing happened. The second month we went, nothing happened. Third, fourth and fifth month we went but nothing was done. Now we have decided it is time we come out,” he said.

Saleem blasted the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan for not being able to “put down” Nasheed “and his 200 hounds”.

“We had to come out because the government has failed to do anything about ‘Keneryge’ Nasheed and the 200 dogs that are behind him. In each island there are five dogs like that. These dogs should be put behind bars,” Saleem said.

“I believe ‘Keneryge’ Nasheed is not behind the ruthless actions [against police]. Instead he is leading these violent attacks. What we know is that Nasheed’s family were the only people who attempted to bring about a coup d’état in this country,” he alleged.

Saleem claimed that Nasheed during his presidency had “done injustice” to the people, for which he should face trial.

Deputy Minister of Transport Ahmed Nazim, who spoke after Saleem, repeated calls for government to take action against MDP protesters and to bring peace to the streets of Male.

He also highlighted the party’s efforts to topple Nasheed’s government, and praised the patience of those who took to streets to “end Nasheed’s dictatorship”.

“When we come out to do something, we won’t back down. We proved that when we came out to bring Nasheed down, and we only stopped after bringing an end to Nasheed’s dictatorship,” he said.

“Now we have come out to put an end to all this. I assure you all, we will only stop after putting Nasheed in solitary confinement,” Nazim said.

Following Nazim’s speech, members of the rally gathered near Boduthakurufaanu Magu as hundreds of MDP protesters passed by.

Verbal confrontations took place between the MDP protesters and the participants of the rally. PPM members called the MDP protesters “ganjabo” (hash user) while the MDP protesters called back “golhaabo” (toddy thief) and “baaghee” (traitor).

With an apparently lower turnout than expected, MP Ahmed Nihan was observed calling people in the Artificial Beach area to gather closer and not confront the MDP protesters prior to his speech. Umar Naseer later reiterated Nihan’s calls.

MP Nihan, speaking in the rally after the situation had calmed down, stated that the party had come out to inform the government that they too had the power to take action against those who broke laws and jeopardised the peace and stability of the country.

Nihan also raised skepticism over the UNHCR report on the Maldives, questioning the UN’s motives and claiming that they had been silent over the recent “extremist attacks” on the Burmese Rohingya Muslims.

“Where is the UNHCR when our Muslim brothers in Burma are suffering? I challenge Nasheed to at least for once condemn those attacks,” he said.

Nihan described the day of Nasheed’s toppling as the new “victory day” for the Maldivian people, and vowed that he would not stop until Nasheed was brought in front of justice.

“I am saying this as the deputy chair of the parliament’s temporary committee set up to look into crimes that Nasheed has committed. I assure you we will thoroughly investigate what he has done in the last three years,” he said.

Nihan also claimed that Nasheed had used up to MVR 300 million (US$19.45 million) as money received from the state as privileges for a former president, which he alleged was not used in a proper manner.

“People laughed at me when I first proposed the bill of privileges for former presidents in 2009, but today it is Nasheed who is getting the most of it. Up until today, he has eaten MVR 300 million from the state as for privileges, but I am now considering putting an amendment to that law to bar him from that,” Nihan said.

He vowed he would propose an amendment to the act to make sure that the former president would only be eligible to receive state beneficiaries if he stayed within the law and “refrained from causing public nuisance”.

Toppling Nasheed was a “Golden Goal”

Speaking during the rally, Umar Naseer said that Nasheed knew that the current government could not be toppled from the streets.

“Mohamed Nasheed is very much aware that the government cannot be toppled from the streets. Umar Naseer knows how it can be done,” Naseer said.

Naseer said he succeeded in his work on February 7, which he had begun after Nasheed assumed presidency.

“I scored the golden goal and went home,” he said.

Naseer also promised that in a PPM government, the death penalty would be implemented.

“We will bring peace to this country, from Haa Alif atoll to Seenu Atoll. Here in the Maldives, people can’t murder others, they can’t stab people to death and they can’t rape women either. If they murder they would face death penalty,” he said.

He also followed Saleem in labeling MDP protesters as “animals”, and stated that after PPM takes over the presidency, “barking animals” will not roam the streets of Male’.

“Even former President Ibrahim Nasir drove away the asses and monkeys that were living in Male’. So for reasons concerning public health, some animals that ‘shout too loud’ will be not allowed to live in Male’ in a PPM government,” he said, in reference to the MDP protesters.

PPM announced that the rallies would continue every Saturday night throughout the month of Ramadaan.

Minivan News tried contacting Umar Naseer but he had not responded at time of press.

PPM “sick and in need of serious counseling”

Speaking to Minivan News regarding PPM’s rally, former Transport Minister and MDP National Council member Adil Saleem described actions of PPM members as “sick”, and the party in need of “serious counseling”.

“They just don’t get us. President Nasheed could be in jail but he will inspire every heart. The voice of freedom will only get louder,” he said.

Following the comments made about arresting Nasheed, Adil said that the PPM would “try anything at this moment”.

“I’ve been inside police headquarters and their detention centre. There is no proper police service now. So the possibility of a rogue element arresting him is possible. Later the service will have no option but to defend the actions of the rogue officers.  Anything is possible,” he said.

“My first arrest was the previous night near the Dhiraagu head office. They took me to the station and told me I was mistakenly arrested for sexually assaulting a female officer on the road. These officers were saluting us six months back,” he said.

He further said that he believed the rally was “a desperate act” by PPM, as international pressure grew.

“I don’t believe anyone who had associated him or herself with the coup and still has brains left would want to go on display at PPM gatherings, when all the pieces of the very clear puzzle are falling into place. I don’t believe they have much support,” he concluded.


“Just 300 police and military officers sustaining regime”: former President Nasheed

Ousted President Mohamed Nasheed last night claimed that only 300 police and military officials were keeping the “coup government” of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan from falling apart.

Nasheed made the remarks during a ceremony held last night on Male’ City Council hall to release a report on the findings of the controversial transfer of power on February 7, produced by a team of Danish legal experts from University of Copenhagen, and a book about the event written in Dhivehi by Ali Moosa Didi.

Nasheed stated that there were “lots of measures” taken to ensure that the “illegitimate” government remained in power, and that the 300 officers were playing a pivotal role in the process.

“300 police and military officers are responsible for undermining the public interest of the entire country, and following that coup, a lot of measures and efforts are being carried out to ensure the survival of the coup regime, and these 300 officers are playing a pivotal role in it,” he said.

He also claimed that in the course of these efforts, police brutality and state sponsored torture had shown an “alarming” increase.

Nasheed also reiterated that his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had “not run out of options”, adding that its core identity was built on “not backing down”.

Nasheed said the party could “advocate and negotiate”, but said the most effective way to bring about early elections and restore the country’s democratic legitimacy was through continued “direct action”.

“Direct action”

During the last two weeks, the MDP has been carrying out what it has called “direct action” protests.

While the opposition party contends that its protests have been “largely peaceful”, the ongoing demonstrations have at times turned into violent clashes with police. This violence has led to allegations of police brutality against demonstrators, and counter claims of protesters attacking reporters and security forces.

The MDP stated that it expected its protests, stated to continue until the present government of President Waheed “topples” would continue indefinitely. The MDP alleged that the Waheed administration came to power in February 7, through a “coup d’etat” and therefore had no legitimacy.

Party MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor who is currently under arrest following the protests at the time claimed that the MDP was committed to managing “peaceful, disciplined” protests, though he accepted that violent confrontations appeared to be increasing between police and protesters.

He alleged that this violence was a result of law enforcement officials increasingly showing a “lack of discipline” on their part.

The Maldives Police Service has contended that it continues to use “minimum force” to protect its officers during the demonstrations.

Conversely, while police have said that none of its officers were hurt in the last 24 hours, there have been serious and minor injuries sustained by police during attacks by individuals suspected of being affiliated with anti-government demonstrators.

On July 12, an attack near Dhilbahaaru Magu in Male’ required one officer to fly to Sri Lanka for treatment for head injuries received from an assault with a pavement brick.

Minivan News has observed protests in recent weeks switching from heckling and mocking of officers at police barricades to violent confrontations as police have charged through protest lines, while demonstrators themselves have broken through barricades to confront police.

Police have come under particular criticism by the MDP for using pepper spray directly in the faces of protesters – an accusation denied by law enforcement authorities.

“Maldives Police did not use any excessive force nor was pepper spray directed to anyone’s face,” police said in a statement at the time.

However a video released of the incident showed a riot police officer reaching over a crowd of people surrounding Nasheed and spraying him in the face. Nasheed turns away as the spray hits him, and is taken away by his supporters, but later returned to the protest.

In this environment, the government has itself called for “calm”, urging all political leaders to abandon the street protests, which have attracted international attention over the last few weeks, and sit down for “sincere dialogue”.

Minivan News tried contacting Presidents Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza, but did not respond at time of press.

EU Concern

Meanwhile the EU has slammed an “escalation of political tension and violent protests” in the Maldives as police confirmed that 50 people – including a former cabinet minister – were arrested during the last two days during anti-government demonstrations.

However, with the arrest of 32 demonstrators in the last 24 hours, as well as a government decision to clear the MDP’s Usfasgandu protest site by July 30, some opposition figures have claimed the tension will likely intensify further.

Spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said there remained “deep concern” in Europe over the political unrest in the Maldives.

“The High Representative is convinced that continued political unrest, heavy-handed responses by security forces, and charges filed against political leaders will only lead to further deterioration of the political climate in the country and will adversely affect the lives of all Maldivian citizens,” stated the EU.

“The High Representative acknowledges the efforts of the Commonwealth Special Envoy, Sir Don McKinnon, to strengthen the Maldives Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) whose purpose it is to establish an objective account of the events which led to the resignation of President Nasheed and the transfer of power to the present Government on 7 February 2012. She appeals to all parties to refrain from any actions that could jeopardise completion of the Commission of National Inquiry’s work, including legal action against political leaders”.

The calls followed a statement released by the Commonwealth this week urging all parties to show “restraint and restore calm” as initiatives like the reconstituted Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).  The CNI, expected to be completed by next month, was  established to ascertain the truth between February’s controversial transfer of power.

In a statement released Tuesday (July 17), Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Maldives, Sir Donald McKinnon called for dialogue among political leaders, urging all parties to show “restraint and restore calm.”


MDP lawyer Mariya Didi outlines criminal charges against President Waheed

Former Chairperson of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and lawyer, MP Mariya Ahmed Didi, has released a report claiming President Mohamed Waheed should face criminal charges for violating Article 30 of the Penal Code, for his alleged participation in unlawfully toppling the government of the Maldives.

Didi, who is an LLM graduate from the Aberystwyth University and the country’s first female lawyer, argued in her report that President Waheed played a “pivotal” role in the “unlawful overthrow” of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration on February 7.

The report is the second released by the now-opposition MDP, following the Aslam-Ameen report which interviewed police and military sources, and alleged that Nasheed’s government was toppled in a premeditated coup d’état through deliberate sabotage of the chain of command.

Didi however stated that the evidence for her report was drawn from the ‘timeline’ released by the government’s own three-member Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), and information collected from political forums and individuals.

The MP for Machangoalhi North stressed that while she had drawn on evidence from the CNI timeline, she still believed that it was not impartial or credible, as the information had come from the government itself.

Facing pressure from the Commonwealth, the government had agreed to reconstitute the panel to include a representative of former President Nasheed, a retired foreign judge, and UN and Commonwealth monitors.


MP Mariya Didi’s report alleges that President Waheed was personally culpable in the unlawful toppling of the Maldives’ government, which is punishable by law under articles 30 and 33 of the Penal Code. The punishment for such an offence includes life imprisonment or banishment for life, including a period of “hard labour” as determined by the sentencing judge.

Article 30 of the Penal Code states: “The punishment for a person who plots to remove the president or topple the government by the use of unlawful weapon (weapons that could harm a person) is imprisonment for life or banishment for life and the Judge has the authority to decide a period for rigorous imprisonment while the person serves the sentence.”

Article 33 of the Penal Code states: “Articles 30, 31 and 32 includes all kinds of coup d’état and attempts of it.”

In her report, Didi stated that it was evident that former President Mohamed Nasheed was elected and sworn in as President, as both the head of state and the head of government on November, 11, 2008 for a term of five years under article 106(b) of the constitution and article 28(c) of the Penal Code.

The former MDP chairperson argued that there was no stipulation in the constitution dictating that the position of Vice President is an elected position, and that rather the VP is appointed by the elected President, both as his running mate and to the office if elected.

Didi further argued that as Waheed was appointed rather than elected, he was not eligible for presidential privileges under Article 127 of the constitution, which allow a criminal sentence to be delayed until the end of a president’s term if determined by a resolution passed by parliament.

Waheed had deviated from his mandate as Vice President while still in the position, Didi argued, as article 117(a) stipulates that, “The Vice President shall exercise such responsibilities and powers of the President as are delegated to him by the President.”


According to point 14 of the CNI’s timeline, on January 30 Waheed met the members of the opposition coalition at the Vice President’s official residence after midnight.

“The Vice President met with some leaders of the [opposition] coalition on the night of 30 January 2012 at Hilaaleege, his residence. He was asked at the meeting whether he was prepared to carry out his legal responsibilities. He said he was ready to do so. Coalition leaders held a press conference after the meeting to announce their endorsement of the Vice President [for President],” the CNI timeline stated.

Didi claimed that after the meeting on January 30, other members of the cabinet had asked Waheed about his meeting with opposition but he had refused to reveal any details.

She argued that this was against the spirit of the article 117(a) of the constitution since the Vice President’s duties were only those delegated to him by the president, and that he had no authority to hide any information which he had acquired in his capacity as the vice president.

In her report, Didi stated that given the midnight meeting and background of anti-government protests calling for the toppling of the government, she inferred the details of the forthcoming ‘coup’ were delivered to Waheed as he had succeeded to power on February 7 without any inquiry as to what had actually happened.

Waheed’s acknowledgement of the resignation amid the police and military mutiny, and formation of a ‘national unity government’ consisting largely of the accused opposition parties, was sufficient evidence that Waheed had accepted his role in the plot to topple Nasheed.

Five days later

Point 17 of the CNI timeline states: “Following Coalition discussions, protests began at Artificial Beach on 2 February 2012. At the protest, Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla calls for police to arrest President Nasheed within five days.”

Didi observed that five days after Imran called for the arrest of Nasheed, Nasheed had resigned and Waheed had been sworn into office.

She argued that the only way a president could be removed from office under the Maldivian constitution was through an election, death, voluntary resignation or parliamentary resolution under article 100(a) of the constitution, requiring a two-thirds majority of the chamber.

The article 100(a) states: “The People’s Majlis, by a resolution, may remove the President or the Vice President from office only on the grounds of:

1. Direct violation of a tenet of Islam, the Constitution or law;

2. Serious misconduct unsuited to the office of the President or Vice President;  or

3. Inability to perform the responsibilities of office of President or Vice President”

Didi submitted in her report a statement given by Waheed to Villa TV on February 7, between 2:00am and 3:00am, which was mentioned in point 90 of the CNI timeline.

Point 90 of the timeline states: “The Vice President speaking via the media at his residence in Hilaaleege called on the military and the police not to obey any illegal orders: ‘Yes! It is also my duty to say something at a time of such national crisis. I support the peaceful activities of the many to protect the country’s constitution and its faith. It is important at this time that all Maldivian institutions especially those of law enforcement to protect and maintain the Constitution and laws. I call upon everyone not to obey an illegal order. In this sorrowful time, I also call upon the Maldivian security services not to leave room for those seeking to dissolve our security and not to allow any harm to be caused to people and their property, especially the media. It saddens me very much that VTV and other places have been damaged tonight. I call upon those who cause such damage to refrain from doing so.  I also assure you that I will do everything I can as the Vice President of this country to free us from this dangerous and tragic time. May Allah return our country to a peaceful and secure state, Amen.’”

Didi claimed that the live TV statement was in violation of article 117 of the constitution, in which the Vice President’s duties included only those delegated to him, and that Waheed in the capacity of Vice President had no right to give such a statement encouraging anti-government activities.

She further argued that when Waheed said that he supported “the peaceful activities”, point 15 of the timeline revealed that a police officer had been set on fire during the protests.

Point 15 of the timeline states: “A policeman caught fire on 31 January 2012 when a fireball was thrown at the police during the protests near MMA.”

She also pointed out in her report that a journalist from the state broadcaster, Moosa Naushad, had his arm broken after a protester hit him with a wooden stick.

She further stated that the timeline acknowledged that police and protesters had damaged public property and vandalised the MDP ‘Haruge’, and also had also uprooted the city council’s date palms to use as weapons.

Didi stated that despite all these violent activities, Waheed had done nothing to prevent such actions or defuse the situation, but had instead supported the cause of the anti-government demonstrators. This, she contended, indicated that he was a part of the plot.

Didi also alleged that Waheed was involved in the unlawful storming of the state broadcaster by police, military and opposition demonstrators prior to Nasheed’s resignation. She said it was “fishy” that Waheed was so concerned about VTV that he had specifically mentioned the television station’s name in his media statement, but had failed to take any action or make a statement following the raid on MNBC.

She further claimed that it was Waheed’s own brother, Ali Waheed, who had accompanied the rebelling police to take over the station.

Didi stated that Waheed did not try to contact Nasheed even as the situation in the country worsened. Police had openly called that they were ready to confront the military, and two civilians – Abdullah Riyaz (current Commissioner of Police) and Mohamed Nazim (current Defence Minister) – had entered the military barracks and demanded the unconditional resignation of President Nasheed, and ordered him to delegate his powers to the Vice President.

She claimed that such Waheed’s decision not to contact Nasheed at the time implied that he was in support of the unlawful activities.

Didi also claimed that Waheed’s failure to contact Nasheed about what had happened or ask why he had resigned before taking the oath of presidency at 15:25pm on February 7, added further weight to the suggestion that he was part of the plot.

She also alleged that the consistent failure of Waheed’s new government to take action against the rebelling police officers for criminal offences – including the distribution of police weaponry to civilian protesters – clearly denoted Waheed’s part in the coup.

In conclusion, she called on the judges and the Prosecutor General to look into the report and deliver justice to the people of the country.

Government response

Spokesperson of the President’s Office, Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News that the government welcomed such a “professional” report.

While the government has described the Ameen-Aslam report as a “terrorist act”, Riza said that Didi’s report was a “professional opinion” while the former was “twisted and baseless accusations against police and military officers.”

“It is very good that people like Mariya have decided to abandon their ‘street justice’ and get into the boundaries of the country’s legal system,” he said.

“This may not mean that they have entered into the legal boundary but it is a positive thing. I think it is a step taken towards getting inside the law,” he added.

Riza further stated that the report was Didi’s own opinion, however he said the government would respect any decision made by the courts.


MDP national council pass motion to “do whatever it takes to bring down coup regime”

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) National Council passed a motion on Monday agreeing to “do everything it takes” to bring down the “coup regime” of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, by “all necessary means and sacrifices”.

The motion was proposed by the former chairperson of the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), MDP constituency president of Haa Dhaal Nolhivaram constituency Ibrahim Waheed, and seconded by MDP MP Ahmed Sameer.

The motion stated that the initial three member panel of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), which President Waheed formed to investigate the controversial transfer of power on February 7, had failed to include several “key facts” in its timeline. Despite the absence of these facts, the timeline revealed the transfer was a coup d’état, the MDP stated.

It also stated that the report composed by Mohamed Aslam and Ameen Faisal revealed that the government of MDP was toppled illegitimately, and alleged that the perpetrators of the coup had planned to harm President Nasheed.

The motion further stated that current President Mohamed Waheed Hassan had played a pivotal role in the coup, self-proclaiming certain powers which President Nasheed had not delegated to him as per article 117 (a) of the constitution.

The motion concluded stating that the National Council believed that necessary action needed to be taken to bring down the illegitimate government by all means and any sacrifices needed in the process, until a legitimate people’s government was installed in the country.

During the debate over the motion, several members of the national council claimed that President Waheed had come to power in a coup d’état, and the party should do whatever it took to bring down the regime and install a democratic  government.

Members of the national council expressed concern over recurrent  police brutality, and claimed that this had increased to such an extent that some police and MNDF officers had begun openly robbing people on the street.

Speaking in the debate, ousted President Mohamed Nasheed said that despite the MDP refusing to recognise the initial composition of the CNI, the latest timeline released by the initial three member panel of CNI also implied that it was a coup.

Former MP for Thimarafushi Constituency, Mohamed Musthafa, said during the debate that the party must be willing to make sacrifices to ensure that the “legitimate” MDP government was reinstated, and the democracy was  reestablished.

“Coming out on the street once a week to show our hands and dance about and then go home is not a solution. We need a solution by any means possible,” he said.

He further said that the MDP should not be scared if sacrifice also meant going to prison.

During the vote for the motion, the motion was passed unanimously by the 55 attending members of the National Council.

Earlier, fresh protests erupted following a MDP National Council meeting held right next to the police barricades near the swimming tracks after police raided the MDP’s protest camp Usfasgandu. The clustered meeting of 43 members of the council took the stand that “enough was enough” and that party should take to the streets to get their constitutional rights.

Immediately, 400 protesters gathered in the area to challenge the legitimacy of police and demand the return of Usfasgandu, saying that they had not done anything violent. The protests triggered a brutal police crackdown leading to arrests and injuries.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said that the purpose of the motion meant that the party would stand firm and strong to defend the public rights.

“The National Council’s decision will be forwarded to a committee within the National Council, and they would decide how the party would act upon the motion. What I know is that we will stand strong to defend the public rights,” he said.

He also added that it was a part of party’s ongoing rally under the name of ‘Insaafuge Dhathuru’, translated as Journey to Justice, which began on February 17, just ten days after the MDP government was ousted.


MDP’s report into February 7 “illegal act of terrorism”: President’s Office

The government has described a report (Dhivehi) released by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) into the controversial change of power on February 7 as an “act of terrorism”.

The MDP released its report in counter to the timeline released last week by the three-member panel of the initial Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), which it had boycotted on grounds that the panel lacked credibility and independence. Facing pressure from the Commonwealth, the government had agreed to recompose the panel to include a nominee of former President Nasheed, a retired foreign judge, and UN and Commonwealth monitors.

President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said that the MDP’s decision to release a report that included the names of police and MNDF officers it accused of being involved in the alleged coup was an “act of terrorism”, and called on the authorities to take action.

“The report is illegal and an act of terrorism. They can’t reveal the names of officers of the security forces like that and threaten their families,” he said, demanding criminal prosecution.

Asked about the allegations made in the report and whether the government would look into them, Riza responded: “I am saying it is illegal to release such a report, so whatever is mentioned in it is not something we are interested in looking into.”

Asked if the government intended to take action against the MDP, Abbas said “the security services will decide on the matter.”

The report was co-authored by two cabinent ministers during Nasheed’s administration: the former Minister of Housing and Environment Mohamed Aslam and former National Security Advisor Ameen Faisal.

The authors claimed that the report was composed on fact and that no information had been included that lacked a primary source.

The report was released in a ceremony held at Male’ City Council hall by the former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Speaking during the ceremony, former President Nasheed said that the authorities should look into the findings in the report, which highlights the actions of the police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officials on February 7, and who should be tried in the courts of law.

He further alleged that the perpetrators behind the ‘coup’ were political figures in opposition parties during his administration.

“This report very clearly states the names of those who were involved, and the roles they have played are stated in detail. I hope that the institutions of the state will look into it,” said Nasheed

He added that the report clearly underlines that the toppling of the government was illegitimate, and announced that the MDP would launch peaceful demonstrations and protests to ensure  the findings in the report were looked into.

“The report reveals that during September 2011, the intelligence services and several other sources received information that opposition political figures had begun to collect the information of about 500 officers in the police and the military who were willing to help topple the government. So they have been planning this since last September,” alleged Nasheed.

He said that it was an obligation of the MDP to the people of the Maldives to ensure that the authorities took action on the findings of the report, even if that meant the launch of demonstrations.

Speaking during the ceremony, Interim Chairperson of MDP, MP Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik said now that the report very clearly stated that the MDP government was toppled in a coup, and the MDP would not remain silent on the matter.

People deserve to know the truth: authors

One of the two co-authors of the report, Mohamed Aslam, stated that people across the country were talking about the transfer of power on February 7 and that “people deserved to know the truth”

He claimed that the reason behind releasing the report was to let the people know what really happened after the initial three member panel of the CNI has attempted to mislead the people about the happenings of the events, by releasing a timeline that lacked truth.

Aslam said that the timeline issued by the CNI lacked several key facts, which he alleged had been deliberately omitted.

“We found that the toppling of the government was  the results of days of planning and discussions by several people,” he said.

Aslam alleged that those involved in planning the coup included several political figures, some media outlets, certain religious scholars and business tycoons in the country.

“They used the some police officers and MNDF officers to execute their plan,” he said.

Aslam also alleged that while Nasheed was inside the MNDF barracks, the rebelling officers tried to make Nasheed and the generals loyal to him believe that they had no control over the military, with units resorting to brutal violence outside the barracks committing several criminal offences inside police headquarters.

“Those involved in the coup believe that these events were carried out by a lot of people, and that they are protected by a large group of people, and therefore are safe. That is not going to be possible. This is not the same Maldives as years ago,” he told.

Aslam further claimed that some of the police and military officials who were against the coup were willing to give evidence in a court if deemed necessary.

Co-author of the report, Ameen Faisal said they collected information from several police officers of different ranks, and thanked the officers for their cooperation in formulating the report.

He expressed hope that those officers would also reveal the truth to the new CNI formed with the support of the Commonwealth, and followed fellow co-author Aslam in alleging that the timeline released by the initial three member panel of the CNI “lacked a lot of information”.

The report claimed that the genesis of the coup began during a meeting held in September 2011, between a dismissed MNDF warrant officer (grade 1), a retired brigadier general, a retired deputy police commissioner and some of the council members of former President Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), allegedly in an apartment owned by PPM Council Member Ahmed ‘Maaz’ Saleem.

“We always planned on toppling Nasheed’s government” – Umar Naseer

PPM Interim Vice President Umar Naseer has meanwhile admitted to local media that he had always been planning to topple Nasheed’s government since the new President was sworn in on November 11, 2008, following the country’s first democratic multiparty elections.

“From 12 November 2008, we were planning on a way to bring down Nasheed’s government. We talked to anybody who we felt was necessary. We talked on the podiums, the media. But we attempted to do that within the norms of the constitution,” He told local newspaper Haveeru.

He also said that at the end of the day, they had succeed in ousting Nasheed “within the boundaries of the constitution”.

Responding to the report, Naseer further said that the “biggest problem” of Nasheed’s administration was that he had been giving illegal orders to the security forces of the country, and that the opposition parties were giving the security officers the message to not to obey those orders.

“When Nasheed locked up the Supreme Court using the police, I said that it was an illegal order. I said that arresting Abdulla Yameen and Gasim Ibrahim was carried out through an illegal order. The police have the right to not obey to illegal orders under the constitution. That is a new right entitled in the green constitution [the new constitution ratified on August 2008],” he said.

“All I did was tell the police and the MNDF that there was this right entitled in the constitution,” Naseer said.

According to Haveeru, Naseer also admitted that accusations in the report that he had attempted to hold a large demonstration right after the conclusion of the “Save Islam’ rally on December 23 2011, were true.

“They did not want that [to hold demonstrations]. But even that night, we would have toppled Nasheed’s government from the street ‘constitutionally’,” he said.

Naseer in an interview given to the SBS dateline program “Mutiny in Maldives” in February explained in English what happened from the perspective of the opposition demonstrators on February 7.

“We had a small command centre where we do all the protests. I command from the centre and give instructions to my people. On the protesters’ side, we were informing and educating the police and army through our speeches and television programs,” Naseer told at the time.

Asked by journalist Mark Davis if the opposition had made any other inducements, such as promises that they and their families would be “looked after” if they switched sides, Naseer said “there were”.

“We called on the army and police and said that if a person was fired from his position because of their refusal to follow an unlawful order, the opposition would take care of them,” Naseer said.

“I had told Nasheed to resign, and that I was afraid for his life – because if Nasheed came out of the headquarters, people might beat him on the streets,” Naseer said.

Minivan News tried contacting Naseer, but he did not respond at time of press.


UK visit will resolve Commonwealth and UK government’s concerns, claims President Waheed

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan has claimed his visit to the United Kingdom will resolve concerns of the UK government and the Commonwealth regarding the political situation in the Maldives.

Speaking to press prior to his departure to attend the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee luncheon hosted by the Commonwealth, President Waheed said during his visit he would meet with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, senior officials of the UK government and Commonwealth officials.

“I am confident that after this trip, any concerns they have will be allayed,” President Waheed told the media.

“We have already provided them with explanations to some extent, and later relayed more information to the Foreign Office as well. Because of this the UK government now listens to what we have to say,” Waheed claimed.

Local newspaper Haveeru claimed 30 people gathered to bid farewell to the President, following the use of loudspeakers around the streets of Male’ last night by pro-government parties urging supporters to gather at the President’s departure point.

The President’s visit to the UK is his second official visit since taking office in February, after his predecessor President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in what he latter claimed was a coup d’etat.

During his official visit to India, President Waheed told a gathering of diplomats that the Commonwealth was being unduly influenced by opposition politicians in the Maldives, and that it was acting beyond its remit.

Speaking at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi during his five day official visit to India, Dr Waheed reportedly said that the Commonwealth’s Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had followed the lead of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in attempting to intimidate the government.