Supreme Court invalidates Thasmeen’s Majlis membership challenge

The Supreme Court has invalidated a challenge against Ahmed Thasmeen Ali’s People’s Majlis seat.

The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) council member, Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim (Wadde), asked the Supreme Court to revoke Thasmeen’s seat claiming he had not paid back an MVR1.9 million (US$124,513) loan to Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim as per a Civil Court ruling.

Local newspaper CNM reported that the case was invalidated after the Supreme Court was unable to summon Wadde to court.

Article 73(c) of the constitution states: “A person shall be disqualified from election as, a member of the People’s Majlis, or a member of the People’s Majlis immediately becomes disqualified, if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as provided in the judgment.”

Wadde said that, although Thasmeen had repaid the loan, he did not pay within the time period delineated in the Civil Court ruling, which required the repayment of MVR320,000 (US$20,779) each month for six consecutive months to clear the debt by April 2012. Thasmeen only settled the debt in July 2012 after the High Court upheld the Civil Court’s ruling.

The Supreme Court in October stripped opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ali Azim and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party MP Mohamed Nashiz of their seats over decreed debt. The pair were guarantors for five credit facilities worth MVR117 million (US$9 million) issued to Funadoo Tuna Products by the Bank of Maldives.

Thasmeen, Nashiz, and Azim are contesting the March People’s Majlis elections on the opposition MDP ticket.


Supreme Court accepts case to invalidate transfer of power to speaker

The Supreme Court has accepted a petition to invalidate a People’s Majlis resolution authorizing the Speaker to assume the presidency in the absence of a president elect by the end of the current presidential term on November 11.

The case was filed by by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s lawyer Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ Waheed.

Speaking to Minivan News, Wadde said that he did not believe that the parliament’s resolution constituted a resolution, and said he did not know any legal term with which to refer to the parliament’s decision as it was against the constitution and laws.

”The decision is clearly against the constitution and I have requested the Supreme Court to invalidate the decision,” he said. ”The parliament on October 27 passed that decision that says that all powers of president must be transferred to the parliament Speaker or someone in the parliament.”

He explained that he had originally filed the case on October 29 before the Supreme Court accepted it today.

On October 27, the resolution was passed at a sitting scheduled in response to a letter to Speaker Abdulla Shahid from President Dr Mohamed Waheed requesting parliament “to take initiative in finding a solution to any legal issues that will arise if a new president is not elected by the end of the current term [on November 11].”

The resolution was submitted by MDP parliamentary group leader and MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and supported by MDP MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.

In a Q&A with the speaker Minivan News asked his opinion on the government aligned MP’s suggestion that the Supreme Court should decide on interim arrangements.

”We have had some MPs calling on the military to take over. I think these individuals are very unfamiliar with democracy. And democratic principles. And it is a shame they sit in a house which is supposed to represent the people,” responded Shahid.

During the interview he also expressed his hope that President Dr Waheed will respect the resolution as it was he who initiated it.

”He wanted the parliament to initiate and tell him what the parliament thinks. The parliament is the representative body of the people of this country. And the parliament overwhelmingly, with the majority of the total parliament, adopted this resolution,” he told Minivan News.

The same day, Waheed also submitted another case to the court asking it to rule that the MDP MP Ahmed Hamza’s appointment to the judicial watchdog – the Judicial Services Commission  – was conducted in breach of the constitution.

Waheed also submitted a case to the Supreme Court requesting it to rule that Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party Leader and MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali was disqualified as an MP.

In addition to these cases, Wadde – alongside Jumhooree Coalition member ‘Madhanee Ihthihaadh’ (Civil Alliance) President Sheikh Mohamed Didi – filed a case in the apex court challenging the candidacy of the MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed.

This filing of this particular case was criticised by both the president and senior PPM leadership.