Nazim and MDP MP Musthafa arrested for bribery, released by court

The Criminal Court today ordered the release of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Musthafa and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim of the opposition People’s Alliance, who were arrested in the early hours of the morning on suspicion of bribing MPs and a civil court judge.

Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed ruled that there were no reasonable grounds to grant an extension of the MPs’ detention based on the evidence presented by police.

“Both of them were arrested last night on charges of bribing a civil court judge. According to the information we have, they offered US$6,000 and a two-way ticket for a trip abroad, and exerted influence on a civil court case,” said the police lawyer in court today.

“If they were released from detention, it could potentially obstruct the investigation of the case and we therefore request [authorisation] to to keep them in police custody.”

Police obtained a recording of a conversation on July 18 that implicated both MPs in the alleged crime.

Dhiggaru MP Nazim, also the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has been under house arrest after being charged with bribery, attempting to influence independent commissions and plotting to physically harm political opponents.

“It is just the onset of the investigation and there is a wide opportunity for them to destroy evidence if they were released, and we still have more to find out,” the police attorney continued. “We note that this is the third such case against Nazim.”

As the crime was “sinister” in nature, he added, the MPs’ release could “disrupt the peace and harmony of the nation” and pose dangers to the society.

Asked by Nazim’s defence attorney Mohamed Saleem for details of the allegations of bribery in parliament, the lawyer replied that the information could not be disclosed at the current stage of the investigation.

In his turn, Saleem accused police of “abusing” the rights of the MPs.

“Police showed no respect at Nazim’s residence, used force, tore down the door of Nazim’s house and broke using force and weapons and disrupted the peace,” he claimed.

Saleem presented the court CCTV footage of the arrest, which reportedly lasted over half an hour when Nazim refused to cooperate with police.

The judge asked police who granted them “authority to destroy people’s property”, the police lawyer replied that it was “only to reach Nazim”.

Reprimanding the police, Judge Abdullah Mohamed said the arrest warrant did not authorise police to destroy private property.

Police informed local media early on Monday morning that despite the arrest warrant issued after midnight last night, Nazim had refused to either answer his phone or reply to a text message requesting his cooperation.

Saleem said a recent Supreme Court verdict declaring the arrests of MPs Abdulla Yameen and Gasim Ibrahim illegal should be considered as precedent in this case.

Requesting a ruling to hold police in contempt of court for violating the constitution, he added that police were ignoring the Supreme Court verdict.

Media present at the court, including Minivan News, observed that Television Maldives (TVM) was denied access to the court chamber. On Saturday night the station aired damning claims by police officials that the criminal court was regularly obstructing their investigations of “large and serious” crimes, and evidence presented to judges was being leaked to defense lawyers.

Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that Nazim and Musthafa had been released from custody, and stated that police would continue to investigate the two MPs over the corruption allegations and hoped “to finalise the investigation quickly.”


Addressing the judge, MP Mustafa claimed that police had violated numerous articles of the constitution as well as the chapter of rights and freedoms in his arrest.

The ruling party MP said the government had “sacrificed” him to justify its investigation of MPs to the international community.

“Don’t think that you also won’t be sacrificed one day,” said Mustafa, pointing at police. “I was one of the men who sacrificed their life to bring this government to power, but last night they sent police squads and abused me physically and psychologically.’’

Musthafa spoke vocally against corruption of the judiciary over a loudspeaker during the first gathering of the ongoing ‘People’s Court’ protests by the MDP, held earlier this week.

Parliament today

Both MPs were meanwhile escorted to today’s sitting of parliament, which was cancelled due to the controversial detention of Mulaku MP Abdulla Yameen, who remains under Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) ‘protective custody’.

Raising a point of order shortly after today’s sitting began, Musthafa demanded to know whether Speaker Abdulla Shahid was informed before he was “arrested and taken by a 25, 30-man military force that entered my house in their [military] boots last night at 2.45am.”

“The charges against me are that I conspired to bribe MPs and I am suspected of bribing judges of the court,” he continued. “And it’s also suspected that, asked by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, I tried to bribe the President, Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice, these three people. So I want to know: did I talk to the Honourable Speaker to offer you a bribe? Then I want to clarify with the President – did I plan to bribe him? Then I want to question Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, did you ask me to bribe the three powers?”

Shahid answered that the Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh informed him by telephone after midnight of the impending arrests, adding that he requested arrangements to be made to escort the detained MPs to parliament in the morning in accordance with articles 202 through 205 of the Majlis rules of procedure.

Responding to criticism that the Speaker should have instigated an internal investigation in the wake of the corruption allegations, Shahid said the parliament, as an institution where decisions are made politically, should not become involved in a criminal justice matter.

In subsequent outbursts, Musthafa claimed that police had put in solitary confinement and “physically and psychologically” harmed him.

“It is your [Speaker Shahid’s] responsibility to look into this,” he said. “I am under arrest and said to have bribed the three powers of state. It is your responsibility to clarify this. Abdullah Yameen isn’t the only person isn’t this Majlis. We can take solitary confinement, it is you who can’t endure it.”

Responding to Musthafa’s question as to why he was placed in solitary confinement while Yameen was taken to presidential retreat Aarah, Shahid said “it wasn’t the Speaker of Parliament who did that.”

On the detention of MPs, said Shahid, the Speaker was required to submit the case to the parliamentary privileges commitee within 24 hours of the arrest and seek the committee’s counsel.


The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair would not comment specifically on Musthafa’s case, adding that it was a police matter, but said the government would do “everything in its power to expose corruption” regardless of political alignments.

“The President said following the resignation of cabinet that he was prepared to even investigate members of his own family in his efforts to eliminate corruption,” Zuhair said.

“[Musthafa’s arrest] I believe highlights the government’s intention to investigate parliament and the judiciary regardless of party politics.”

MDP Chairperson Mariya Didi said she was “really surprised” to hear of Musthafa’s arrest, but promised that the party would be indiscriminate when it came to purging corruption.

However Mariya said she was concerned about the executive’s ability to see cases to their conclusion through the current judiciary.

“People have lost faith in the system – it is no longer just about parliament,” she said. “The public are very annoyed at the judges as well – it is not enough for justice to be done, justice must be seen to be done.”

The public’s lack of faith in the court’s ability to rule fairly in cases concerning wealthy, established and powerful individuals had led people to “feel hopeless” about any resolution to the current crisis.

Law and order has to be kept, but the whole place is a mess,” she said. “These are not political opponents [on trial], this is Gayoom’s younger brother (Yameen), and people who were ministers in Gayoom’s regime of 30 years.

“This one and a half years has been quite rough, but we have not arrested our political opponents as many urged us to do. [MDP] lost the parliamentary elections and became unpopular because of that,” she said.

“I don’t know how the international community must see it – they probably see it in terms of the same sorts of laws and practices as they used to in the West. The fact that most of the judges were appointed during and even before Gayoom’s 30 year regim is very difficult for them to understand,” she added.

“It took the Western world a very long time to reach where they are, and it’s unfortunate that they seem to expect us to get there overnight.”


Court denies warrant – Nazim arrest attempt fails

Police failed to arrest Majlis deputy speaker and Dhiggaru MP Ahmed Nazim when he arrived home at Aabin in Galolhu ward, reports Haveeru.

The arrest attempt failed when residents of the house prevented police from entering without a warrant, according to Haveeru, and Nazim’s lawyer and several opposition MPs also came to the house.

Last week, the police arrested Mulaku MP Abdulla Yamin and Maamigili MP Gasim Ibrahim on allegations of treason and bribery of Majlis members, and the Maldives media identified Nazim’s voice in recorded phone conversations discussing negotiations with the Anti-Corruption Commission, an unidentified MP and million rufiyaa payments.


Majlis members in voice recordings identified by Maldives media

The Maldives print, television and Internet media have identified the voices and names in three voice recordings made available on the Internet yesterday.

The voices were those of Kuludufushi-South MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, Dhiggaru MP and Majlis deputy speaker Ahmed Nazim, Mulaku MP and leader of the People’s Alliance party Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and Maamigili MP and Jumhooree party leader Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim, says the Maldives media.

Gasim Ibrahim is chairperson of the permanent Majlis committee for economic affairs, and chairperson of the Majlis sub-committee considering the Tourism Goods and Services bill and the Business Profit Tax bill. Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is the younger brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and heads the permanent Majlis committee for national security. Both Gasim and Yameen were arrested and charged with bribery and treason last week.

Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed admits that he took part in the conversations in his personal Internet blog where he says a conversation he had with Gasim Ibrahim was not about raising money to bribe Majlis members.


Leaked voice clips may be ‘conversations between friends helping each other’: Yameen

Three recordings of discussions between Majlis members referring to other members and officials, including a plan to cease work on the Tax bills in the Majlis, have appeared on the Internet.

The People’s Alliances party (PA) leader Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom told Minivan news this afternoon that a voice in the sound clips might be his, but the conversations were ”not to borrow money to bribe MPs… [rather] As friends, we might help each other,” he said.

Yameen said the discussions ”would be a recording of a telephone call”, and were potentially taped by either the Police or by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). ”We have sent a letter to the telecommunications authority to clarify whether they gave permission to record any of their telephone calls,” he said. ”It is unlawful to record private phone calls.”

However, the Police denied Yameen’s claims. ”The Police will never record anyone’s phone calls,” said sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam. The police had no connection with the leaked voice recordings, he said.

The People’s Alliance party secretary-general Ibrahim Shareef said that he could not say whether the voice in the clips was Yameen’s. ”Personal calls should not be recorded,” Shareef said. ”We do not have anything to say regarding this. Yameen himself will be the best person to ask. This is a personal issue.”

Jumhooree party leader MP Gasim Ibrahim did not respond to Minivan News’ calls at the time of publication.

The second recording below is between the South Kulhudufushi MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed and MP Gasim Ibrahim, according to ‘Kutti’ Nasheed’s personal blog. Nasheed says that the request for cash from Gasim was made months ago. In his blog, Nasheed denies that the cash had anything to do with voting in the Majlis.

Recording:1 Transcript below | Audio in Dhivehi – mp3 file

Voice1: We have the original now.

Voice2: So if we put this through the ACC [Anti-Corruption Commission] tomorrow morning, how soon will the ACC release a statement?

Voice1: It should be released tomorrow. They are coming tonight. Two ACC commissioners are in Malaysia. The President [of ACC] is here. Our friend Hoara Waheed is there. I have directly given all warnings through him… in prelude to this… that this is a must. I have also passed the number to Gasim. Seems Gasim will maintain connection.

Voice2: Have we been able to get anything from Gasim yet?

Voice1: He said Rose matter is sealed. He worked very hard. He took Rose to Paradise yesterday evening at 6. And he came to that meeting at around 9.30 -10 and said “final”. That it’s done.

Voice2: So that means?

Voice1: It’s the one million matter. Isn’t it?

Voice2: Yeah.

Voice1: He tried a funny story with me. After Friday prayers yesterday, I went to Gasim’s house…

Voice2: So Rose is joining Jumhooree Party now?

Voice1: No it’s not that… It is just for these matters…

Voice2: In that case, Nazim, why don’t we take Rose, with this million?

Voice1: Yeah. Rose knows now. And I have asked Maniku to complete the deal. With one million given there is still two million… So what happens now is… I mentioned everything that there was doubt about. I wasn’t able to talk to Gasim later. He has said everything will be Ok…100% and not to worry.

Voice2: What are you telling Maniku?

Voice1: I went to Maniku… Gasim is going to see Hassan Saeed at 2.30.

Recording:2 Transcript below | Audio in Dhivehi –mp3 file

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: And again, it is three months since I have been trying to get myself out of that.

MP Gasim Ibrahim: Finishing it now.

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: Are you still in the office, … mean … in the Majlis?

MP Gasim Ibrahim: I came at six o’clock and since then, now finishing and leaving now. Continuing tomorrow.

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: Yeah, OK.

MP Gasim Ibrahim: What happened?

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: I contacted, this is just… how is your situation in relation to flow?

MP Gasim Ibrahim: Why?

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: I need some cash.

MP Gasim Ibrahim: Yeah, ok… How much?

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: I need it very much.

MP Gasim Ibrahim: Have you got someone to come over here?

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: Here, at this time, there’s no one.

MP Gasim Ibrahim: Yeah it is…

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: Yes, tomorrow morning will be fine. It’s not a problem.

MP Gasim Ibrahim: People will see it there, will be watched, won’t it?

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: OK, I will try and arrange someone from there to go to Villa, is that ok?

Recording:3 Transcript below | Audio in Dhivehi – mp3 file file

Voice2: Yes, what is it?

Voice1 (?): Dilute, Thasmeen is working to dilute… Nasheed, could you please tell that story.

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: Yes, I was contacted just then…. You have seen the first draft, haven’t you?

Voice2: I haven’t seen it yet, not yet.

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: OK, the first draft states specific actions that will be taken. I will, for your convenience, read it for you right now, those bits.

Voice2: OK read.

MP ‘Kutti’ Nasheed: It was agreed that to prevent the government from doing what it is trying to do, to take a number of steps all at once.

These steps include meeting with those who submitted the [airport] bids, and clearly explaining to them the common Maldivian view on this, and the view of the political parties.

The Financial Act Amendments Bill, which is in the finishing stages, is to be pushed fast through the Majlis.

Submit a no-confidence motion to the Majlis for a decision regarding the Minister for Finance Ali Hashim and the Minister for Civil Aviation Mahmood Razee who is responsible for the privatisation.

And until all these things are done, to cease all work on the tax bills submitted by the government to the Majlis.


Islamic Foundation calls for death sentence if apostate fails to repent

The Islamic Foundation has called for self-declared apostate Mohamed Nazim to be stripped of his citizenship and sentenced to death if he does not repent and return to Islam.

Nazim claimed he was “Maldivian and not a Muslim” during a public question-and-answer session with Islamic speaker Dr Zakir Naik, the first time a Maldivian has publicly announced he is not a Muslim.

According to the Maldivian constitution all citizens are required to be Muslim, and the country is always described as a “100 percent” Muslim country.

The 37 year-old angered many in the approximately 11,000-strong crowd with his statement during Dr Naik’s ‘Misconceptions about Islam’ lecture on Friday.

Dr Naik responded that Nazim had read the wrong books and “deviated from Islam”, and requested him “to read correct books on Islam, and Inshallah, you’ll come back to Islam.”

However Nazim did not relinquish the microphone and pressed Naik to clarify the penalty for apostasy.

“In Islam, there are many cases, it doesn’t mean death penalty,” Dr Naik explained. “But if the person who reverts who was a Muslim then converts to and becomes a non-Muslim and propagates his faith and speaks against Islam, and if it’s Islamic rule, then the person should be put to death. But just because a person who is a Muslim becomes a non-Muslim, death penalty is not the ruling.”

Nazim was escorted from the venue by police for his own protection, after members of the audience attempted to attack him.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said two men who tried to attack Nazim were arrested after they attacked the police officers protecting him. Nazim himself “was not injured because police protected him,” Shiyam said.

He was taken to a police building where a crowd of protesters had gathered, calling for him to be punished. Shiyam confirmed that Nazim is now being held in an undisclosed location for five days while police investigate “in consultation with the Islamic Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s office.”

Today the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives issued a press statement calling on judges to give Nazim the opportunity to repent “and if he does not, then sentence him to death as Islamic law and Maldivian law agree.”

“The Islamic Foundation believes that the person who announces apostasy should be punished according to Islamic laws,” the NGO said, warning that Nazim represented “a disturbance to the religious views and the religious bonds that exist with Maldivians.”

“Hereby if this man does not do his penance and come back to the Islamic religion, the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives calls to take the citizenship away from this man as mentioned in the Maldivian constitution.”

If case crossed into areas not covered by the laws of the country, “then the judges should rely on Islamic law,” the NGO stated, as per article 142 of constitution which says judiciary shall look into Islamic shar’ia on matters not covered in law, and sentence accordingly.

“So it is requested that the commissioner of police run the legal research on this man and take this to the Prosecutor General’s office. We also request the Prosecutor General to go through this matter and to take this man to the criminal court for trial,” the Islamic Foundation said.

A government official involved in the legal process, who requested that his name and department be kept anonymous, said he was “really worried” and described the case as “a very sensitive subject”.

“Police are investigating the case,” he said. “My understanding is that the court authorities will give [Nazim] opportunities to change his mind. I think he will be given every opportunity to think about his decision.”

Minister for Islamic Affairs Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari told Minivan News that Ministry officials had acted quickly to remove Nazim from the venue “for his own protection”, and had now handed the matter over to the legal system.

“I don’t know if there is a penalty for apostasy according to Maldivian law,” he said.

The Adhaalath Party issued a press statement claiming that the act violated the constitution of the Maldives and called on the government “to strengthen Islam and protect the constitution.”

Religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf declined to comment on the matter during a press conference held today on another matter, however NGO Jamiyyathul Musliheen expressed “concern and regret” over the incident.

”Not a few number of Maldivian youths are moving further from the religion, and many of them are going renegade,” the NGO said in a press statement, adding that “it is a responsibility of the government to strengthen Islam in the country.”

President of the Human Rights Commission to the Maldives (HRCM), Ahmed Saleem, said “what happened was really unfortunate.”

“I think the best thing will be to talk to him and to make him understand the situation and the repercussions, talks which HRCM will welcome,” Saleem said.

He said he was unsure how the Maldivian government would handle the incident.

“I’m afraid of the reaction from the international community should we resort to harsh action,” he said. “I don’t think it would be in our interest – we have just been given a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. This is something we need to think seriously about before we start using harsh language.”

Minivan News contacted several local human rights NGOs however they had not responded at time of press.

A senior government source, who requested anonymity, said he felt the case “will be a real test of how the government will abide by its international commitments.”

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair was on medical leave and unable to comment.

Minivan News was unable to reach Nazim himself for comment, however a person close to the matter described him as “a very sensible guy who will think of the people around him. But he will not give up on calling for people to be more honest about themselves. I think he will become a genuine refugee if he refuses to take back his words,” she said.

A transcript Dr Naik’s response to Nazim is available here.


Parliament paralysed by punch-up pandemonium

Parliament was cancelled today by Speaker Abdulla Shahid, after DRP MP Ahmed Mahlouf reportedly approached MDP MP Alhan Fahmy, tapped him on the shoulder and informed him he was sitting in a DRP seat.

MPs from the major parties leapt to the defence of their respective party members, and the chamber quickly degenerated into a brawl.

Fahmy recently switched to the MDP from the DRP after being suspended from the DRP for voting against the party on the issue of a no-confidence motion against foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed. Mahlouf was particularly vocal regarding Fahmy’s decision to cross the floor, at one stage describing the MP for Seenu Feydhoo as a “political prostitute”.

After the battle, MPs were displaying their injuries to journalists outside parliament.

“They tried to attack us by force, try to create fear in the chamber. We are not afraid of them,” said DRP MP Ali Waheed, sporting a bandaged wrist. He would not say who attacked him, but said “everyone came after me because I am the tallest MP around.”

Mahlouf, he claimed, was punched in the lips.

“We are ready to fight back. As deputy leader of the party, my duty is to defend my party members,” Waheed said.

Staff at ADK hospital confirmed that MDP MP Shifaq Mufeed had been discharged after he was allegedly punched in the eye. Waheed, however, maintained that Mufeed’s injury was the product of make-up applied by MDP parliamentary group leader ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, a former movie star.

“We have a video of him without any damage before he went into the office of the MDP parliamentary group leader,” Waheed said, “and with a lot of injuries to his face afterwards. Reeko is a former movie star, and I congratulate him on the high quality of his make-up skills.”

Neither Fahmy or Mahlouf were responding to calls at time of press.

Stop the session

The chamber erupted during a debate on the report submitted by parliamentary finance committee calling for the dismissal of the Auditor General over charges of corruption.

The charges were made in a letter sent to the committee by former Anti-Corruption Commission member Hassan Luthfy.

“[MDP] disrupts parliament if there is anything not to their pleasure,” said Ahmed Nazim, deputy speaker and chairman of the finance committee.

“This will bring parliament to a total standstill, because the DRP will not back down on this one, and we cannot submit another committee report until we have concluded this one because they go in sequence.”

Mahlouf’s behaviour towards Fahmy “was probably uncalled for”, he said, “but the MDP members were protesting and not allowing anyone to talk. Mahlouf went up and told him he was talking from ‘one of our seats’.”

Nazim is himself no stranger to charges of corruption, recently pleading not guilty when charged with conspiracy to defraud the former ministry of atolls development.

At a press conference in August last year, Chief Inspector Ismail Atheef said police had uncovered evidence implicated the former Atolls Minister Abdullah Hameed, Eydhafushi MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem, former director of finance at the ministry, and Nazim in fraudulent transactions worth over US$260,000 (Mf 3,446,950).

Meanwhile, Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem told the press on Sunday that the charges against him, which have now been forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office, were “made by people attempting to harm [my] office because we are trying to bring all the [stolen] money back into the country.”

However Nazim said the committee’s four members were unanimous that the Auditor General was guilty and called for his dismissal.

MDP MP Ahmed Easa said the party’s concern was not the corruption case against the Auditor General, “but a procedural issue.”

“Nazim did not get the approval of the committee,” he said, claiming that key MDP members of the committee received text messages from parliamentary staff informing them that the meeting at which the findings of the sub-committee was discussed had been cancelled.

“Staff are informed by the chairman,” he said.

At today’s sitting, Hinnavaru MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said the committee had not “completed the process” in compiling its report.

Solih said the letter from Luthfy in June last year was never officially entered in the Majlis records and parts of its annex were missing when the committee first set down to deliberate.

Moreover, said Solih, when the committee later decided to summon the Auditor General and members of the Anti-Corruption Commission, DRP MP Abdullah Abdul Raheem withdrew his motion to recommend a no-confidence vote.

Nazim however claimed that the report had been submitted according to new rules of procedure, and that MDP’s response was a cynical attempt to disrupt the chamber so no vote could be taken.

The situation is unlikely to unravel soon, and already text messages calling for rallies and protests have begun circulating. Groups of MDP activists engaged in a running protest this afternoon around parliament, pursued by police, scenes likely to continue as parliament tries to resolve its deadlock tomorrow.

“It was sad to see such pictures in parliament,” noted Ali Waheed. “But we are ready to get dirty if that is what it takes to clear this mess.”

Web of corruption: the story so far

At a DRP rally last night, MP Ahmed Nihan pledged that the Auditor General would be removed from his post and would have to “pack his belongings” before 2.30pm.

Meanwhile, at an MDP rally, ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik called on party members to protest outside independent commissions to demand action against senior officials of the former regime accused of corruption, gross misappropriation and embezzlement.

He added it would take months to summon all complicit to court as they included the former president’s family, in-laws and associates.

“It would take more than 48 hours to read the verdict against even one of them because of all their theft,” he said.

The debate over the past two sittings proceeded intermittently as MDP MPs continually raised points of order claiming procedural violations and irregularities in the compilation of the report.

However, the Speaker ruled that as the case had not yet reached court, he had to table the report in the agenda.

Maafanu West MP Abdullah Abdul Raheem, who originally proposed the motion of no-confidence, accused MDP MPs of trying to “sabotage” the sitting and prevent the vote.

Presenting the report yesterday, Nazim said a sub-committee was formed to investigate the allegations against the Auditor General in a letter sent by former ACC member Hassan Luthfy.

The committee confirmed that the allegations in the letter were based on a report compiled by the ACC in June 2009 after reviewing financial records and documents at the Auditor General’s Office, he said.

There were four main allegations against Naeem: forging receipts to show that he paid for a trip to Baa atoll Thulhaadhoo; using office credit cards for personal purchases; purchasing health insurance through the office although it was included in his salary; and creating a “slush fund” of Rf6 million from the office budget for personal expenses.

After the subcommittee submitted its findings, Nazim continued, two motions were forwarded.

While MDP MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih proposed summoning the auditor general, DRP MP Abdullah Abdul Raheem proposed a motion that the committee should recommend a vote of no-confidence.

Article 218 of the constitution states the Auditor General can be removed on the grounds of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence if “a finding to that effect by a committee of the People’s Majlis […] and upon the approval of such finding by the People’s Majlis by a majority of those present and voting.”

Although Raheem later withdrew his motion, Nazim said it was done after the committee voted to pass it.

“Therefore, Abdullah Abdul Raheem’s claim that he took it back is a definite falsehood. It is misleading. It is being done by people who don’t want this to go ahead and wants to keep the auditor general in his post,” said Nazim.

Nazim was shouted down by MDP MPs who raised points of order, left their seats and engaged in acrimonious arguments with opposition MPs.

Nazim said Naeem wrote to the Bank of Maldives himself to get a Visa Credit Card and an American Express Credit Card, both with credit limits of US$10,000.

Although Naeem himself wrote the offices’ operating manual, said Nazim, the auditor general used both cards for personal use without reimbursing the office 14 months after the expenses.

The subcommittee found that Naeem spent Rf91,000 from the Visa Card and Rf422,000 from the American Express Card.

Further, Nazim said Naeem transferred Rf6 million from the office account at the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) to a BML account for personal use.

But, he added, the finance committee had ordered the account to be closed when it finalized the state budget for 2010.

Naeem’s actions were in violation of several provisions of the state’s finance and asset regulations, he said.

Further, the ACC had noted that a Sony VIAO laptop Naeem purchased in Singapore was paid for by the office and import duties were not paid.

Nazim concluded by proposing the motion approved by the committee to call a vote of no-confidence.

In the ensuing debate, MDP MPs said the report was intended to discredit Naeem and the audit reports he issued that alleged rampant corruption under the former government.

DRP MP Ahmed Nihan meanwhile observed that Naeem showed up first in Google searches for “corrupt auditor general”.

Naeem was nominated by former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and approved by a DRP-dominated Majlis.