Police suspend investigations into Supreme Court judge’s sex scandal

The Maldives Police Service has suspended investigations into Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed’s alleged appearance in a series of sex tapes.

“We have filed the Ali Hameed case. We do not have enough evidence to proceed further and it will only be opened again if we receive additional information,” a police media official told Minivan News today.

In December, Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz told the press the police had been unable to determine if the man seen fornicating with three different foreign women was Ali Hameed. The incident reportedly occurred in a hotel room in Colombo.

Nawaz at the time pledged to continue with the investigations with assistance from a foreign country. The police press conference followed local media reports that the investigations had stalled due to the Criminal Court’s failure to provide a warrant to take a facial photograph of the judge and a separate warrant to search his residence.

The judicial oversight body Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has meanwhile failed to take any action on the matter despite repeated recommendations by two subcommittees to suspend the judge for failure to cooperate with investigations.

The sex tapes first surfaced in May 2013 shortly after a film – also involving Hameed – began circulating on social media in which the judge appeared to be discussing political influence in the judiciary with a local businessman.

JSC member Shuaib Abdul Rahman and former member MP Ahmed Hamza have accused JSC President and Supreme Court Judge Adam Mohamed of stalling the commission’s investigation into the scandal.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General (PG) has pressed corruption charges against Hameed over the illegal transfer of US$144 worth credit from his state-funded mobile phone in 2010.

But the Criminal Court has said case documents were destroyed in a coffee spill and has asked the PG’s Office to submit files again.

The auditor general discovered the offense in a 2010 audit of the Department of Judicial Administration and the case was subsequently investigated by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

The audit also discovered that MVR13,200 (US$856) was spent out of the apex court’s budget to repair a state-owned car used by an unnamed Supreme Court Justice, later revealed in the media to be Justice Hameed.

According to the police report cited by auditors, the driver of the justice’s car was responsible for the accident, which occurred on January 23, 2011.

However, the official driver insisted the car was undamaged when he parked and left it the previous night.

Despite the findings of the audit report, in March 2011 the Supreme Court dismissed allegations of corruption reported in local media regarding phone allowances and use of court funds to repair Justice Hameed’s car.

Moreover, in September 2011, the ACC began investigating allegations that over MVR50,000 (US$3,200) of state funds was spent on plane tickets for Justice Hameed’s official visit to China in December 2010.

The complainant alleged that Hameed also visited Sri Lanka and Malaysia, both before and after his trip to China to attend a conference by the International Council of Jurists.

A return ticket on a direct flight from Malé to Beijing at time cost MVR16,686 (US$1,080).

Furthermore, in May 2012, the ACC revealed that Justice Hameed was among three sitting judges illegally occupying state-owned apartments.

The Maldives Bar Association in April has said Hameed’s continued presence on the Supreme Court bench contravenes Islamic Shariah and the norms of justice.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations against Ali Hameed, that the judge continues to hold trial contravenes norms of justice, conduct of judges, and established norms by which free and democratic societies deal with cases of this nature,” the organization said.

Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain has refused to comment on the issue, stating in January: “We are speaking about accusations. The Chief Justice will comment on the matter when relevant authorities decide on the nature of the accusations. How many other’s have also faced accusations?”

Images and symbols depicting scenes from the sex-tape formed a prominent part of protests against the court’s repeated interference in the presidential election of 2013.

Hameed was one of the four judges who formed the majority in the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the initial first round of the 2013 presidential election, the ruling that unseated two opposition MPs over a controversial case of decreed debt, and the ruling that removed Elections Commission President and Vice President for alleged contempt of court.


No conflict of interest as JSC member, presidential candidate: Gasim

Jumhoree Party (JP) Presidential Candidate Gasim Ibrahim has told reporters he will not step down from his position on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), stating that he saw no conflict of interest between his bid for power and role on the judicial watchdog.

The JP held a press conference yesterday with its two recently-unveiled coalition partners, the religious conservative Adhaalath Party and the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), following their defection from President Mohamed Waheed’s ‘Forward with the nation’ coalition last week.

According to local news outlet Haveeru, journalists repeatedly asked Gasim how he could possibly remain an impartial member of the JSC while running for president.

In response, Gasim said he saw no conflict of interest, and insisted that he would “not neglect his legal obligations” as a JSC member.

Following the investigation of Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed sex tape scandal by a JSC subcommittee, Gasim voted against suspending the judge, in contradiction of the subcommittee’s recommendation.

Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor, President Waheed’s representative Latheefa Gasim, and Chair of the Civil Service Commission, Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, also voted against the judge’s suspension, citing “lack of evidence”.

Gasim meanwhile publicly declared that Hameed’s sex tape was “a fake” orchestrated by “external forces” seeking to take over state assets, introduce other religions to the country, and create infighting in Maldivian society.

His comments were followed this week with the leak of two more sex videos of the judge, including one depicting the judge fraternising with a topless woman with an eastern European accent. At one point, the judge leans right into the camera, and his face is visible.

JSC controversy

The public’s representative on the JSC, Sheikh Shuaib Abdul Rahman, has been sharply critical of the commission’s conduct and motivations, particularly its “open discussion” of its intent to eliminate Gasim’s rival presidential candidate, former President Mohamed Nasheed, from contesting the upcoming elections.

“It is common now to hear a lot of MDP and Nasheed bashing in commission meetings. This was not how things usually were before. I believe politically biased comments like this have increased since Gasim joined the JSC as a representative of the parliament,” Sheikh Rahman stated in March.

“Gasim even went to the point of asking the UN Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul when she held a meeting with us to state in her report that it was Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) who torched the courts. I heard him say exactly that,” Sheikh Rahman said.

Knaul’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council following her mission to the Maldives in February, was a damning indictment of the country’s judicial crisis.

The special rapporteur stated that there was near unanimous consensus during her visit that the composition of the JSC was “inadequate and politicised”. This complaint echoed that of the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) in 2010.

“Because of this politicisation, the commission has allegedly been subjected to all sorts of external influence and has consequently been unable to function properly,” said Knaul.

The JSC was responsible for both creating the court in which Nasheed was to be tried for his detention of Chief Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in early 2011, and appointing the panel of judges overhearing the trial.


Two more sex videos of Supreme Court judge leaked

Two more videos apparently showing Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed engaging in sexual relations with foreign women have been leaked on social media.

Three other videos already in circulation, including a third sex tape and two videos of the judge meeting prominent Maldivian business and political figures, recently prompted the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) to form a five-member subcommittee to investigate the matter.

The two new leaks follow the JSC’s decision last week to disregard the subcommittee’s recommendation and not suspend the judge, citing “lack of evidence”.

According to Maldivian law, the crime of fornication is subject to 100 lashes and banishment or house arrest for a period of eight months.

The courts regularly issue this sentence, overwhelmingly to women found guilty of extramarital sex. Sentences are carried out in front of the justice building next door to the Supreme Court, and occasionally attract high profile international media coverage, such as the sentencing in February this year of a 15 year-old rape victim.

Minivan News understands that one of the newly leaked videos, time-stamped January 24 2013, shows the judge fraternising with a topless woman with an eastern European accent. At one point the judge leans right into the camera, and his face is visible.

Afterwards, the woman repeatedly encourages the judge to drink wine from a minibar.

“If I drink that I will be caught. I don’t want to be caught,” the judge insists, refusing.

The room and date stamp appears to be the same as that in previously leaked footage of Hameed meeting a local businessman Mohamed Saeed, the director of ‘Golden Lane’.

In that video, Hameed asserts that he was one of Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Presidential Candidate’s Abdulla Yameen’s “back-ups”, and that his stand was “to do things the way Yameen wants”.

“Even [Speaker of Parliament] Abdulla Shahid will know very well that my stand is to do things the way Yameen wants. That the fall of this government was brought with our participation,” he appears to add, although the audio quality is poor (01:49).

One of the men claims to have heard plans to “kill off” leader of the Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and refers to a “second person to be killed,” however, due to the unclear audio it is not clear what the parties are referring to, or the context of the “killing”. The person believed to be Hameed then promises, “If it comes into my hands, I will kill him off.”

That video appeared shortly after police arrested Ahmed Faiz – a council member of President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and then-Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry – while he was allegedly trying to sell another sex tape of the Supreme Court Justice.

Don’t make negative statements on the judiciary: Chief Justice

Chief Judge of the Supreme Court Ahmed Faiz has meanwhile urged the public and media to refrain from making statements that would give a negative image of the judiciary.

The judiciary could only be strengthened by the amending the constitution, Faiz claimed, according to local media.

“Based on our experience up until now, we know that in order to further strengthen the judiciary, the constitution needs to be amended, relevant laws need to be amended, and relevant laws required by the judiciary need to be introduced as soon as possible,” he said.

PPM Vice Presidential candidate Dr Mohamed Jameel meanwhile declared at a party rally over the weekend that the judiciary was the “worst the country has seen in its entire history”, according to local media.

“Today’s reality is that, even if we reflect upon the magistrates in the island courts to the judges who sit in the courts of Male’, they receive higher salaries and better privileges than all of the common people. But the question is, while the system and their salaries are being upheld by taxes, do the people get their justice?” said Dr Jameel, who served as Justice Minister under former President Gayoom’s administration.

“In what country, in what way can a country’s people be made to suffer, batter the people and intimidate them, kidnap them and use the people’s money through corruption, abuse the people’s property through millions and then sell them, but have no investigation, no trial for these people, these events require you to give considerable thought to the state of the country,” he said.

Dr Jameel then blamed the judiciary for allowing former President Mohamed Nasheed’s name to appear on the ballot for the September 2013 elections.

“Some of the people who are standing for presidency should not have their names on the ballot paper if the country’s laws are being followed, if the State’s policies are properly implemented. Somebody has to be responsible for this. I believe that the blame goes on the judiciary,” Jameel said.

Supreme Court Judge Hameed with businessman Mohamed Saeed