Hassan Habeeb promoted to Deputy Police Commissioner

President Abdulla Yameen has today promoted Assistant Commissioner of Police Hassan Habeeb to the post of Deputy Commissioner.

The Maldives Police Service now has three deputies, including Mohamed Sodiq and Mohamed Saudee.

In late January, changes were brought to the Maldives National Defence Force following the dismissal of Mohamed Nazim as defence minister, with Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Fayaz (Papa) replacing Major Ahmed Faisal as head of the Special Protection Group – charged with ensuring the security and safety of the president.

Captain Ibrahim Naeem is also reported to have been removed from the head of armoury and replaced by MNDF intelligence head Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Rauf.


Former presidential advisor accuses tourism minister, finance minister of corruption in Fushidhiggaru deal

Former presidential advisor Ahmed ‘Sandhaanu’ Didi has accused Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb and Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad of illegally selling off Fushidhiggaru Lagoon in Kaafu Atoll without the knowledge of then – President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

Speaking at a press conference today, Didi showed an agreement signed between the government and Ukranian company Prime Capital Pvt Ltd during Waheed’s administration on developing Fushidhiggaru.

The former Special Envoy on Human Rights claimed Waheed only discovered news of the deal when the investors attempted to register a joint venture company at the Ministry of Economic Development, but said both ministers denied the move at the time.

“I was at the president’s office then. Dr Waheed summoned Adeeb and Jihad and asked whether Fushidhiggaru lagoon had been sold off to a foreign party and they denied that any such thing was done,” he told the press.

Neither Adeeb nor Jihad were responding to calls at the time of press.

The Fushidhiggaru deal first came to light during the 2013 presidential elections, when current Home Minister Umar Naseer claimed Adeeb had sold off the lagoon without a transparent and public bidding process.

JP coalition claimed that the agreement was compiled, signed and stamped without legal advice from the Attorney General, in the late hours of January 18, 2013, a Friday night.

At the time, Adeeb denied the existence of an “official” lease agreement and dismissed the allegations as an attempt at “political assassination.”

Despite Adeeb’s denial, local media in September 2013 reported that the Economic Ministry had refused to register a joint venture company for the development of Fushidhiggaru lagoon with Prime Capital.

The company subsequently filed a lawsuit against the Economic Ministry at the Civil Court.

In a verdict (Dhivehi) delivered on July 15, Civil Court Judge Ali Naseer ordered the government to register the joint venture company within a seven-day period, sign a master lease agreement within five days of registration, “and [to] make all arrangements undertaken by the government in accordance with the agreement.”

Didi today said he has submitted relevant documents and letters to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Anti-corruption Commission and Maldives Police Services requesting the matter be investigated.

“This is the most deceitful and biggest embezzlement in recent Maldivian history,” he said.

“I am aware that by talking about this I am endangering my own safety, but this must be done for the future generation. Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him advised us to reveal the truth no matter how bitter it may be.”

Didi was imprisoned in 2003 for writing and distributing a newsletter called “Sandhaanu” which criticized President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s policies.

Former Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim in November released a report implicating Adeeb in a US$6million corruption scandal.

Adeeb has denied allegations, and accused Niyaz of colluding with MP and former Deputy Speaker of parliament Ahmed Nazim in releasing the audit report. Adeeb suggested Nazim had a personal vendetta against him following his refusal to support Nazim for the Majlis Speakership in May.

Niyaz was subsequently dismissed from the post through a surprise amendment to the Audit Act, and Hassan Ziyath, the brother of an official implicated alongside Adeeb, was appointed as the new Auditor General.

The Criminal Court on October 26 withheld Nazim’s passport on allegations of blackmail while the Supreme Court today held the first hearing into an appeal of the High Court’s acquittal of Nazim from four counts of corruption.

Photo: President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet

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Police and PG’s Office announce regulations for faster prosecutions

New regulations to speed up investigations and prosecutions have been announced by the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office and the Maldives Police Services (MPS).

Specified cases will now be prosecuted within seven days, with police saying that the measures would “reduce the number of repetitive offenders” as criminal cases can now be prosecuted within the time frame of the initial remand period.

In a joint press conference held today (February 15) Police Superintendent Hamdhoon Rasheed explained that the regulation enacted on January 4 will apply to five types of cases.

These will include cases in which: the accused confesses to the crime; witnesses and video/photo evidence clearly identify the accused and the crime; there is forensic evidence and witnesses; there is two clear witness statements; there is a police witness.

The cases in which the accused confesses to the crime and the cases in which police personnel are witnesses will be prosecuted within 3 days, while other three types of cases will be prosecuted within 7 days.

The PG’s Office representative at the conference, Information Officer Adam Arif, stated that the new regulations have so far been applied to 20 cases.

Of these, he explained that eight are in court, seven have been put on hold, three require further clarification, one suspect was given leniency given for first time offenders, while the PG decided to dismiss another case.

In answering queries regarding the cases the seven cases that have been put on hold, Arif said that they had involved offenders who are currently under the drug rehabilitation programme, mandated by the drug court,or under trial in that court.

“According to drug court regulations and rehabilitation policies, these cases have to be put on hold until the drug court decides on the continuation of their rehabilitation programme or on the cases lodged against them,” said Arif.

In response to questions regarding potential weaknesses in the cases due to the speeding up of the investigation and prosecution process, Arif stated that the regulation applies to considerably small offences.

“We believe this will facilitate justice by speeding up the judicial process. We do not think this will weaken the investigation or the prosecution process,” Arif stated.

Recent moves to have also been made to speed up the appeals process, with the time allotted for appeals from lower courts reduced to 10 days – from the usual 90 (180 for cases from the atolls).

The Supreme Court has said that the move to expedite proceedings will ensure the constitutional right to hearing within a reasonable time, though critics have argued the new regulations effectively remove the legal right of appeal.

Nazim case

When asked during the conference today about whether the case of former Minister of Defence and National Security Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim had been sent to the PG’s Office by police, Superintendent Hamdhoon noted that “his case is serious and related to terrorism”, and that these regulation did not apply to his case.

While neither the office itself nor police have provided any confirmation on whether Nazim’s case has been sent to the PG, his legal team has reported that police told the Criminal Court during a remand hearing on February 10 that the case had been sent to the PG on February 9.

Nazim’s legal team noted that the police had said, under oath, that some forensic processes had not yet been completed despite the case being sent to the PG.

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Police deny framing Nazim as former Commissioner alleges politicisation


Police deny framing Nazim as former Commissioner alleges politicisation

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has denied allegations it is framing former defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim, who faces charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

In response to the claims made by Nazim’s legal team that dangerous weapons were planted in his home, police stated that “nothing was done in violation of procedures, regulations and laws in the investigation of the case”.

“Saying that police brought items into Nazim’s apartment” is untrue, read the police statement, describing such accusations as “baseless” and as “efforts to accuse the police in order to deceive the public to achieve particular goals”.

Nazim’s legal team – which alleges officers spent ten minutes unsupervised in his room during the raid – has appealed against the Criminal Court’s decision.

Meanwhile, former Police Commissioner and Jumhooree Party MP Abdulla Riyaz has expressed concern over what he described as “politicisation of the police”.

In a joint rally by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the JP last night Riyaz suggested: “We are now witnessing the realization of political agendas through the police force.”

“When I was there, the institution was free from political influence,” he added.

Riyaz was appointed the Commissioner of Police immediately after the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, 2012, following a mutiny by sections of the security forces.

He was replaced after President Abdulla Yameen assumed presidency in November 2013, joining the then pro-government Jumhooree Party soon after and winning the Kinbidhoo constituency seat in the 2014 Majlis polls.

While the police received extensive criticism from opposition groups for their role in the transfer of power, and the brutal suppression of protesters the following day, Riyaz himself was investigated by the Police Integrity Commission for appearing to campaign against Nasheed’s 2013 presidential bid.

Riyaz re-posted a letter he claimed to have been sent, urging the police to “say no” to Nasheed on election day, just as they had on February 7.

The MP announced he would be joining Nazim’s legal team shortly after his arrest earlier this week, as did Adhaalath Party Spokesman Sheikh Ali Zahir.

Riyaz was not responding to calls at the time of publication.

Foul play

Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed told Minivan News today that police officials had informed the Criminal Court under oath that the investigation had been completed and sent to the PG’s Office.

Yesterday’s police statement, however, noted that investigations into his case – including the “forensic process” – had not been concluded.

“Virdhan from Maldives Police Services who was under oath, stated in the remand hearing that although some forensic work is not fully complete, the investigation of the case has been completed,” explained Hameed.

Therefore, he said that the legal team has today asked the Criminal Court to provide them with transcripts or audio recording of the remand hearing.

He also stated that they have submitted a defamation case against the Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed for telling the press on January 29 that an improvised explosive device was found in Nazim’s home.

Hameed argued that the explosive device had not been found during the initial search, and was not listed in a record of items found, explaining that police only announced its discovery days later after an analysis conducted without independent oversight.

The legal team has also raised questions over why Nazim was arrested after more than 20 days had passed since the police raid on his residence.

He was dismissed as the defence minister two days after the January 18 raid, which police have maintained was ordered without knowing the identity of the residents.

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Police accuse Nazim of plotting coup, planning to harm senior government officials

Additional reporting by Mohamed Saif Fatih

The Maldives Police Services has accused former Defense Minister (retired) Colonel Mohamed Nazim of plotting to overthrow the government and harm senior government officials.

A police statement issued at 9pm tonight claimed to have found documents in a pen drive confiscated from Nazim’s house during a midnight raid on January 18 suggesting he “was plotting to physically harm senior Maldivian state officials.”

“In addition, police intelligence has received information that he was plotting with various parties to overthrow the government,” the statement read.

During the search, the police claimed to have found a pistol, bullets and an improvised explosive device.

Nazim was arrested at 1:15am on Tuesday (February 10) on charges of treason and possession of illegal weapons. The Criminal Court has extended his detention for 15 days.

At a 9pm press conference at Villa TV tonight, Nazim’s legal team said the former minister is being framed and have implied the firearms found during the raid were planted. Nazim’s remand sentence is to be appealed at the High Court tomorrow.

If convicted, Nazim faces a jail term between seven and ten years. The police have forwarded charges to the Prosecutor General’s Office.


Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed suggested weapons may have been planted, claiming police officers who raided Nazim’s apartment had spent ten minutes in the bedroom in his absence.  Further, police only announced they had found an improvised explosive device days later after an analysis conducted without independent oversight, he said.

“This is nonsense,” Hameed repeatedly told the press at Villa TV tonight.

After police forced open Nazim’s door at 3:30am on January 18, police immediately entered Nazim’s bedroom, taking him, his wife and two of their children to the living room, Hameed explained.

“After the whole family was taken to the sitting room, the police officers who had initially entered the apartment remained in the master bedroom for approximately ten minutes.”

A team of plainclothes officers arrived afterwards and produced a search warrant. The pistol and three live bullets were found in a bedroom drawer during a search in Nazim’s presence.

The improvised explosive device had not been found during the initial search and the item was not even listed in a record of items found during the search, he said.

The police have maintained they were unaware the apartment they were raiding belonged to the former defense minister and said they had decided not to arrest him at the scene due to his high profile.

Hameed questioned police’s decision to arrest Nazim after the completion of investigations, and claimed such an arrest can only be made through a PG order.

Jumhooree Party MP and former Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz accused the police of unprofessionalism and said: “This was clearly done to frame Colonel Nazim.”

Nazim and his wife’s passports have been confiscated.

His arrest appears to be part of a larger crackdown on political rivals by President Abdulla Yameen. The former minister had revealed his presidential aspirations following the raid on January 18.

Nazim was a central figure in former President Mohamed Nasheed’s ouster. He had delivered an ultimatum to Nasheed demanding an unconditional resignation on February 7, 2012.

He has served as Defense Minister for three years now, first under Nasheed’s successor Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

Following Nazim’s dismissal, Nasheed’s former Chief of Defense Forces Moosa Ali Jaleel was appointed as Defense Minister.

Prior to Nazim’s arrest, President Yameen retired Vice Chief of Defense Forces Ahmed Mohamed and appointed Brigadier General Ahmed Shahid to the post.

Changes brought to military ranks in late January include the dismissal of Major Ahmed Faisal and Captain Ibrahim Naeem from the posts of head of the Special Protection Group (SPG) and Head of Armory, respectively.

Lieutenant Colonels Ahmed ‘Papa’ Fayaz and Abdul Rauf were appointed to head the SPG and Armory respectively.


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State negligence investigated in death of Rakeedhoo child

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office are conducting separate investigations into the death of a child in the island of Rakeedhoo in Vaavu atoll.

The body of three-year-old Mohamed Ibthihaal, showing signs of severe abuse, has now been brought to Malé for further investigation and examination.

HRCM commission member Ahmed Tholal said that the focal point for vulnerable groups will lead a comprehensive investigation into the child’s death in a human rights perspective in order to identify any negligence by state institutions and individuals.

“We will share the report of the investigation with the public and relevant institutions. The report will also point to potential systematic flaws that may have led to this tragic death”, Tholal said.

Rakeedhoo Island Councillor Abdulla Rasheed told Minivan News yesterday that authorities had been aware of the abuse, having visited with the mother prior to the incident.

“We previously informed the police and gender ministry that the kid was being abused, but when [the mother] was questioned she was going to take care of the boy and stop abusing him,” explained Rasheed.

The mother was said to be unresponsive to questioning yesterday, having alerted health officials to the incident after she had rushed to the health centre before passing out.

State negligence?

Neither the police nor the gender ministry were revealing details of the case at the time of publication, though both have promised statements.

PG’s Office Spokesman Adam Arif told Minivan News that the office was currently investigating the death and that it will also focus on the events leading to the death in terms of possible negligence on the state’s part.

“Maldives Police Services will be investigating how exactly the child died and the immediate circumstances. The PG Office will investigate the events that led to this, including talks about how some state institutions were made aware of the child being beaten and abused”, Arif said.

The boy’s mother was known to the authorities as having a record of abusing the boy, who is the eldest of three. Media have published old images of child, appearing to show a black eye from past abuse.

Arif also noted that a three-member team of prosecutors are currently collecting information about the history of abuse in the case the child.

PG Muhthaz Muhsin was quoted in media yesterday as saying. “It is unacceptable that the child was handed over to the mother for the second time after it was found that she was beating him.”


The incident has provoked an outpouring of grief, with President Abdulla Yameen promising strict punishments for those found culpable in Ibthihaal’s death. A public rally has been arranged for Friday at 4:15pm from the Raalhugandhu area in Malé.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) held a news conference yesterday regarding the incident, expressing the party’s concern over possible systematic flaws that might have led to the death.

“The main issue is that, this is not first time that he was harmed. He did not die on the first day he was harmed,” said MP Rozaina Adam.

“This is not a political problem, but instead this is a very big social problem which can only be fixed if everyone in this country works towards a solution.”

She revealed that MDP parliamentary group has decided to summon the gender ministry and other relevant state institutions to the Majlis to investigate the matter and to identify ways to prevent the occurrence of any such incidents in the future.

MDP rights committee chair Hisaan Hussain welcomed PG’s decision to investigate into the matter. Pointing to the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan, Hisaan expressed her disappointment over the lack of results from such state investigations.

She suggested that proper measures taken at the right time could have prevented the death.

“Did the gender ministry monitor the situation within the house after its initial visit? If not, why not?”

Following the death of the child former president and MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed tweeted stating that “the only way to protect children is to strengthen the social protection programme”.


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Police starts investigating case of dead body found at a Villimalé home

The Maldives Police Services has started investigating the case of a dead body found in a Villimalé home yesterday (January 27).

A police press statement read that they have started investigating a case of a 38-year-old dead man found at V. Hevaa yesterday at around 5.35pm.

The statement said that, upon receiving information of a man having collapsed, police arrived on scene and took the man to the health center, where doctors confirmed that he was dead.

An investigation team from the police’s serious and organised crime department found items believed to be drugs and syringes at the scene, read the statement.


Dismissed Defence Minister’ passport held by authorities

The passport of former defence minister Mohamed Nazim has been held by the department of immigration and emigration through a Criminal Court order, say media reports.

State TV broadcaster MBC reported that Nazim’s legal team had confirmed immigration is holding the passport.

Nazim – who was also acting health minister and head of immigration – was dismissed from his post on January 20, three days after police raided his apartment in the Galolhu ward under a court warrant.

Speaking to the media on the day of his dismissal, Nazim said that recent events had shown that no Maldivian was assured of safety and security.

Minivan News contacted department of immigration’s spokesman Hassan Khaleel who stated that travel plans of individuals cannot be revealed and so refused to provide confirmation regarding reports that Nazim’s passport has been held.

Nazim himself refused to comment on the matter, referring Minivan News to his lawyer Azima Shukoor who was not responding to calls at the time of publication.

Criminal Court Spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Manik said the relevant authorities will receive such court orders and that he is unable to confirm anything more.

Following Nazim’s dismissal Maldives Police Services (MPS) told the press that they had found dangerous weapons at Nazim’s house during the search, though they denied knowing it was Nazim’s home before the raid.

“Nazim and some of his family members were questioned regarding the weapons but they failed to adequately respond to the questions,” said Spokesman for Commissioner of Police Ahmed Shifan.

Meanwhile on January 22 Nazim’s legal team published a statement stating that he did not commit any act in violation of the law and that “he would like to assure everyone that he would not do anything in violation of the law in the future.”

Immigration are also currently holding the passport of former Deputy Speaker of the Majlis and Progressive Party of Maldives MP Ahmed Nazim though police have not revealed the details of the investigation.

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High Court frees drug kingpin Shafaz citing insufficient evidence

The High Court has freed ‘drug kingpin’ Ibrahim Shafaz Abdul Razzak today, stating that evidence submitted by the state for trafficking charges was insufficient.

Reversing the Criminal Court’s 18 year jail term and fine of MVR75,000, the High Court questioned the authenticity of documents submitted by the state claiming to prove Shafaz had transferred large amounts of money gained through drug trafficking.

Shafaz was arrested in June 2011 with 896 grams of heroin after the two year long ‘Operation Challenge’. At the time, the Maldives Police Services labeled Shafaz a high profile drug dealer suspected of smuggling and supplying drugs since 2006.

The police claimed Shafaz’s network had smuggled drugs worth MVR1.3 million (US$84,306) to the Maldives between February and April 2011.

In today’s ruling, the High Court noted that the state had failed to provide transaction records to substantiate claims that Shafaz transferred large sums of money to a Sri Lankan national through Western Union and A.G.E Emporium, and that  records from Western Union did not display any official seals or marks.

The court also said the state had failed to provide proof that evidence gathered regarding Shafaz’s money transactions was obtained legally, i.e. through court orders.

Additionally, the court noted that records of money transactions were dated from 2006, but phone call recordings and transcripts between Shafaz and the Sri Lankan national were from 2011, with the result that the relationship between the two pieces of evidence was weak.

Citing Article 24, Article 51, and Article 52 of the Constitution which guarantee the right to privacy including private communications and the rights of the accused, the High Court said any evidence obtained by unlawful means is inadmissible in a court of law.

Corruption charges

The Criminal Court had sentenced Shafaz in November 2013. He was released temporarily for medical treatment in Sri Lanka in February 2014, but failed to return to the Maldives after the allocated three month period. The Sri Lankan police caught Shafaz in Colombo and extradited him to Maldives in May 2014.

Last month, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) revealed that six senior government officials conspired to allow Shafaz to leave the country despite no evidence that he required urgent medical care that was not available in the Maldives.

The ACC investigation found that former Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Hanim personally paid a visit to a doctor’s home to obtain a signature confirming that Shafaz required urgent medical care abroad. However, the ACC said Shafaz had not consulted a doctor in the week before his release.

Hanim, who is now the deputy minister of environment, also oversaw the illegal preparation of Shafaz’s travel documents and allowed him to leave the country without obtaining formal approval from the Maldives Correctional Service’s (MCS) medical board.

The investigations also revealed former Commissioner of Prisons Moosa Azim had lobbied the medical board to approve Shafaz’s release despite knowing his paperwork was incomplete.

In addition to Hanim and Azim, the ACC has recommended corruption charges be filed against two members of the medical board, a technical officer at Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), and a staff member at the MCS.

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