High Court concludes hearings of MP Hameed’s appeal

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.


Municipality head resigns to focus on election campaign

President of Male Municipality, Adam ‘Sarangu’ Manik, has resigned from his post ahead of the local council elections on Saturday, reports Haveeru.

Manik is competing for Male City Council in the election, and said he had resigned to focus on his campaign.

Haveeru noted that Manik had also faced criticism for campaigning whilst incumbent in the position.


Corpses being stacked as Male’ cemetery reaches capacity

The cemetery (Aa-sahara) in Male’ has reached capacity and Male’ municipality council has begun burying dead bodies on top of one another, by adding six feet of soil to the burial ground.

Islamic burial practices state that bodies must be buried six feet under the earth, and must not be stacked above other bodies – a logistical challenge for densely-populated Male’, where space is at a premium.

Head of Municipality Council Adam ‘Sarangu’ Manik said the council had no other choice because there was no other land in the city to bury dead bodies.

”We have to do it like this because every day one or two people need be buried there,” Adam explained.

”The soil was put on top of the graves and prepared by the former government,” he said. ”We have no other place to bury dead bodies, so we continued burying them there.”

State Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed reiterated that under Islam it was prohibited to bury dead bodies in this manner.

”It is allowed only if there is no other way,” Sheikh Shaheem said, noting ”it is not a must to only bury dead people in Male’ – there is space in Hulhumale and Villingili. We should take the dead bodies in a speed boat to Hulhumale’, Villingili or another nearby island,” he said.


Closing public water taps “like drinking blood of the people”: Umar Naseer

Male’ Municipality has closed 14 public water taps across the city, leaving only four taps available.

Deputy Head of the Municipality Mohamed Arif said the taps were closed because the council had received many complaints about the taps, which were “not being used by Maldivians.”

”Most of the water is used by expats, for car washing and a very few poor locals,” Arif said. ”We have done surveys to check who has been using the water taps.”

Arif said the water taps cost the municipality Rf3.5 million (US$270,000) last year.

He said the water taps were established intending to help the poor locals who could not afford to pay the water bill.

”Our records show that only 10 per-cent of the people using the water taps were Maldivians,” he said.

”We receive many complaints from Ameer Ahmed School that people throw water at the students,” he said. ”We also have many complaints from people that they are having difficulties due to water spilt near the taps.”

Press Secretary for the president Mohamed Zuhair also said that the taps were used mainly by expats and for washing cars.

Vice president of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party DRP Umar Naseer said that he was concerned about the issue as “a lot of people are unable to afford their water bill.”

”That’s why they stay in the queue for hours, ” he said. ”Closing the water taps is like drinking the blood of the people.”

Most people could not afford to drink bottled mineral water all the time, he noted.


Municipality claims land illegally occupied by MDP Haruge

The Male’ Municipality has claimed the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has built a part of its ‘Haruge’ headquarters illegally on the municipality’s land, and informed the party to vacate within 14 days.

President of the Male’ Municipality Adam Manik said the MDP had taken part of the municipality’s land when it built its headquarters.

Adam said that was a part of the land on which the Housing Ministry planned to build flats.

”[MDP Chairperson] Mariya Didi built their office there unauthorised,” Adam claimed.

He said the council had now informed Didi to clear out the site within 14 days.

”It’s not the whole of the MDP Haruge,” he said. ”Its’s the part of the Haruge where they have the administration office.”

Spokesperson for MDP Ahmed Haleem said the party would clear the land within 14 days as requested. He said the land had been given to the MDP by the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce “as a gift.”

”We did not know that a part of the municipality’s land was occupied by us,” he said, adding that the party had not decided where to build its new administration office.

He said the land claimed by the municipality measured around 2000 square feet.