A third consecutive week of parliamentary sittings have been cancelled over an ongoing dispute over the attendance of Independent MP Ismail Abdul Hameed, who was convicted of corruption on August 29.
The last sitting on October 24 was cancelled after heated arguments between opposition and ruling party MPs over the Kaashidhoo MP’s right to participate in sittings until he exhausted the appeal process.
The High Court has since upheld the Criminal Court verdict.
Meanwhile a statement put out by the secretariat on Sunday explained that this week first sitting yesterday was called off as Speaker Abdulla Shahid’s efforts to resolve the dispute through discussions among parliamentary group leaders have been so far been unsuccessful.
The statement noted that according to article 74 of the constitution, “Any question concerning the qualifications or removal, or vacating of seats, of a member of the People’s Majlis shall be determined by the Supreme Court.”
The Supreme Court meanwhile concluded hearings today on a case filed by a private party over Hameed’s seat. According to the Majlis secretariat, Speaker Shahid has written to the Chief Justice requesting the case be expedited so that sittings could go ahead.
According to local media reports, the Supreme Court today heard from third parties who had entered into the case.
The statement however noted that committee meetings, where legislation is reviewed and stakeholders are consulted, have been taking place.
The High Court last night upheld the Criminal Court’s guilty verdict against Independent MP Ismail Abdul Hameed for corruption and abuse of authority as former director of waste management at the Male’ municipality.
Under article 73(c)(3) of the constitution, MPs found guilty of a criminal offence “and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months” would be stripped of their seat.
Hameed was accused of abused of authority to financially benefit a Singaporean company named Island Logistics in a deal to purchase a barge.
In the verdict delivered on August 29, Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Didi noted that the agreement stipulated the barge was to be delivered within 90 days of signing the agreement, upon which 50 percent of the value was to be paid to Island Logistics.
Although the barge arrived in the Maldives on October 23, 2008, Hameed had signed a a protocol of delivery and acceptance of the vessel on April 28, 2008.
The judge ruled that Hameed’s actions were intentional and in violation of the Anti-Corruption Act.
The High Court judges ruled unanimously last night that there were no grounds to overturn the guilty verdict.
The High Court concluded hearings last Thursday of the appeal by Independent MP Ismail Abdul Hameed of the Criminal Court verdict finding him guilty of abuse of authority.
The MP for Kaashidhoo was sentenced to one year and six months banishment after he was found guilty of misusing his authority as the former Director of Waste Management at the Male’ municipality to financially benefit a Singaporean company named Island Logistics in the purchase of a barge.
According to local media reports, Judge Abdulla Didi noted in the verdict that the agreement stipulated the barge was to be delivered within 90 days of signing the agreement, upon which 50 percent of the value was to be paid to Island Logistics.
Although the barge arrived in the Maldives on October 23, 2008, Hameed had however signed a document claiming that the barge was delivered on schedule on April 28, 2008.
At the High Court hearing, Hameed’s lawyer however submitted documents showing Hameed visited Indonesia to claim the barge and a letter from the municipality to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) requesting the barge be released.
Hameed insists he signed the delivery forms after the government officially claimed the barge. Moreover, Hameed’s lawyer argued that government violated the agreement by not making payments on time and Hameed negotiated with the company to ensure the delivery of the barge.
The state attorney countered that Hameed signed the documents before the barge arrived in the Male’ harbour.
The High Court adjourned the hearing after informing the parties that a verdict would be issued at the next court date.