Leader of the Jumhoree Party (JP) and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim has defended Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, dismissing the alleged sex-tape involving the judge as a fake.
The video of the Supreme Court Justice allegedly indulging in adultery came into media limelight following the arrest of Ahmed Faiz – a senior Council Member of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and former Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry.
Snapshots taken from the video began circulating on social media networks Twitter and Facebook, prompting a police investigation. Last week, the police formally notified relevant authorities including the JSC, the Prosecutor General and President Waheed regarding their investigation into the case.
The notification led the JSC to form its own five member committee to look into the matter. According to JSC, the committee comprises of three of its members including Vice Chair of the commission Abdulla Didi, commission members Latheefa Gasim and Ahmed Rasheed. Two additional attorneys outside JSC have also been selected to sit on the committee.
Earlier this week local media reports claimed the JSC, in addition to the sex-video, had begun investigating videos of Hameed discussing political corruption of the judiciary with a local businessman, and a meeting with former immigration controller Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim. Both have been circulating on social media.
Speaking during a campaign rally held at Thaa Atoll Veymandoo Island on this Saturday, The JP Presidential candidate – who also sits in the JSC as a representative of the parliament – claimed that Justice Hameed had been victimised by the aides of former President Mohamed Nasheed.
The resort owner alleged that Nasheed – who is the presidential candidate of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – commands “a large group of vigilante criminals who will do whatever he demands.”
“They blackmail people in order to keep them in check. They do all kinds of things. Even today, look at that fake video of the judge. [Nasheed] will do what he wants by using blackmailing and other tactics,” Gasim claimed.
Following the MDP’s launched of its youth policy, dubbed ‘Entertainment without fear’, Gasim labeled Nasheed a “monster” claiming that he had done every “despicable act ever to be found in the world”.
The owner of Villa Group also alleged that there were “external forces” assisting those behind the video of the judge, and alleged that the motive of these unidentified forces were to take over state assets, introduce other religions to the country, and create infighting within society.
“There are people in the world that cannot digest the fact that Maldives is a 100 percent Islamic country,” said the resort tycoon, whose Villa Hotels chain in 2011 imported approximately 121,234.51 litres of beer, 2048 litres of whiskey, 3684 litres of vodka and 219.96 kilograms of pork sausages, among other haram commodities restricted to islands deemed ‘uninhabited’.
Violation of JSC Code of Conduct
President of Maldives Bar Association and former Attorney General Husnu Al Suood criticised Gasim’s remarks, alleging he had violated the code of conduct of the JSC.
Suood claimed that Gasim had violated section 24 of the code by making statements in a political forum on a matter currently being investigated by the JSC.
Section 24 of JSC’s Code of Conduct states that a member of the commission shall not disclose any information obtained from the commission by being its member to a third party, except for the purpose of executing the member’s duties.
“In my opinion, it is not fair for Gasim Ibrahim to sit on the JSC while being a presidential candidate. He must leave the position. That is because these types of conflicts will arise when a commission member is campaigning for the position of presidency,” Suood said.
Suood further highlighted that Gasim, by misusing information from the JSC for his political benefit, had undermined the credibility and impartiality of the state institution.
The opposition MDP followed Suood in criticising Gasim’s remarks, claiming that the JP Leader was defending the sex-tape scandal and incompetent judges for his own benefit.
Speaking to Minivan News, MDP Spokesperson MP Imthiyaz Fahmy claimed Gasim was “hell bent on preventing the judiciary from being reformed”.
“Gasim Ibrahim is trying to undermine the entire judiciary for his own business and political interest. Why else is he sitting in the JSC while campaigning for presidency?” Fahmy questioned.
Fahmy alleged that Gasim’s greatest fear was a free and fair judiciary, “where his bribes will not work”.
“Look at his past track record. He has criticised reports produced by top technical experts from reputed international organisations regarding the judiciary. We all know how low he went in dismissing UN Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul’s report,” Fahmy said.
Gasim had previously accused UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul of “lying and joking” about the state of the Maldivian judiciary.
During her preliminary observations on the country’s judicial system, Gabriela Knaul expressed concern over the politicisation of JSC – the body constitutionally mandated to oversee the functioning of the judiciary.
“[Gabriela Knaul] claimed that the judges were not appointed transparently, I am sure that is an outright lie. She is lying, she did not even check any document at all nor did she listen to anybody. She is repeating something that was spoon-fed to her by someone else. I am someone who sits in JSC. She claimed there were no regulations or mechanism there. That is a big joke,” Gasim claimed at the time. “She couldn’t tell a bigger lie.”
Fahmy meanwhile called on the parliament members to initiate a motion to remove Gasim Ibrahim from the JSC.