Court releases Maldivian accused of kidnapping Bangladeshi migrant workers

The criminal court yesterday released a Maldivian man suspected of kidnapping, beating and robbing two Bangladeshi migrant workers.

Police officers broke into a second floor office apartment in Malé in the early hours of Monday morning after receiving reports of the kidnapping and arrested the 34-year-old suspect.

“Police found the two Bangladeshi men aged 23 and 24 in the apartment with noticeable bruises. Our investigations found the two Bangladeshis were robbed of a large sum of money,” said police.

The suspect was released after he was taken before a judge for extension of remand detention.

Police are searching for a Bangladeshi and a group of Maldivians suspected of involvement in the kidnapping.

Minivan News understands the Criminal Court released the suspect citing the lack of an arrest warrant authorising entry into the apartment. The court also said the suspect was not arrested from the crime scene.

However, police said “the suspect was detained at the crime scene.”

The Maldives Police Service with the help of the prosecutor general’s office has since appealed the Criminal Court’s decision to release the man.

According to legal experts, the constitution allows police to enter a private residence without a warrant under special circumstances.

“The constitution provides circumstances for police to enter a household without a warrant if they have sufficient evident of a life being threatened,” said Mohamed Shafaz Wajeeh, a lawyer.

“But establishing the circumstances in court would fall on the institution that wants to extend the period of custody.”

Speaking to Minivan News, the owner of the house in the Galolhu ward where the two Bangladeshis were held captive said the pair were kept at a leased second floor apartment.

“The police came around three in the morning. They called several times to open the door and broke in after the people inside did not respond,” she said.

“I think the Maldivian they arrested was not even sober.”

The leased apartment is the offices of Bisado Maldives, a recruitment and employment agency established in 2014, according to their Facebook page, and Brexco Private Limited, a registered construction company.

Local NGO Transparency Maldives (TM), which provides legal aid to locals and expatriates, expressed concern over the “lack of priority for foreign worker rights”.

“Expatriates are in a vulnerable situation in Maldives. It is very important that society sees and seeks the rights of foreigners at the same level as the locals,” said Ahid Rasheed, a senior project coordinator at TM.

The police also face challenges in successfully closing criminal cases involving foreign workers, the NGO noted.

“In many cases we have seen the sponsors send them back to their countries if any problem arises. So we have difficulties in judicial process, mainly in getting witness statement in courts,” a police media official said.

The former Bangladeshi High Commissioner for Maldives, Selina Mohsin, described the situation of Bangladeshi workers in the country as “bizarre and horrifying” after a spike in violence against migrant workers last month.

A Bangladeshi waiter in a local café was murdered in March and four others stabbed the following week. In 2014, police rescued a Bangladeshi held captive in a migrant workers accommodation block while a chained man was discovered by locals in 2009.

The vice president of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives Ahmed Tholal has described the recent spate of attacks against Bangladeshi workers as “hate crimes”.

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Transparency Maldives urges state officials not to accept ‘arbitrary gratuities’

Transparency Maldives (TM) has urged the heads of independent institutions to refrain from accepting “arbitrary gratuities” from the government.

The government awarded luxury flats at discounted prices last month to Supreme Court justices and four heads of independent bodies, including the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), in what it called an attempt to “ensure their integrity.”

The anti-corruption NGO won the inaugural ‘National Integrity Award’ introduced by the ACC and handed out at a ceremony held last night to mark the first national anti-corruption day. The auditor general’s office was the other recipient of the award.

“While Transparency Maldives appreciates the efforts to acknowledge our core values and community services, we reiterate that upholding the integrity of independent institutions is an integral mandate of high ranking public posts in these independent institutions,” the NGO said in a statement today.

“As such, we call upon the heads of independent institutions to refrain from accepting arbitrary gratuities from the government.”

TM also urged independent bodies to “safeguard from undue influence and allegations of bribery and corruption in order to uphold the value of integrity and increase public confidence in independent institutions.”

TM said the organisation is “honoured” to have the received the award and “appreciates the acknowledgement of integrity as a fundamental premise to a healthy society”.

Speaking at last night’s ceremony held on the island of Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaal atoll, ACC president Hassan Luthfy reportedly said that loopholes in the law posed difficulties in investigating corruption allegations and securing convictions.

He called on MPs to pass a criminal procedures code and an evidence law and include ‘illicit enrichment’ as an offence in the new penal code.

In 2014, the commission concluded 783 investigations and forwarded 35 cases for prosecution, seeking to recover MVR1.4 million (US$90,791) owed to the state.

“Gratuities”

Luthfy confirmed to Minivan News last month that he had signed a contract to buy one of the apartments at the discounted price.

Flats were also awarded to all five Supreme Court justices, the prosecutor general, the commissioner general of customs, and the information commissioner.

While the state can provide privileges to state officials “based on need and limited to the duration of employment of individuals”, TM noted at the time that the flats are “permanently contracted by the executive to public officials holding time-bound positions of the state”.

“The offering of arbitrary privileges to public officials holding high-ranking positions and the acceptance of such privileges will undermine public trust in these institutions,” the NGO warned.

“TM also notes that upholding integrity in the performance of high-ranking public posts is an integral and core mandate of such positions, and should not be incentivised through handouts of property or other forms of personal enrichment.”

However, the government has defended its decision to offer discounts on the flats.

Tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb told the press that the apartments were awarded to “ensure the integrity of independent institutions”.

“The flats were not handed out. The recipients have to pay for them. This will result in ensured integrity of independent institutions and, moreover, it will strengthen the state,” he said.

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A nation’s dying democracy: The New York Times

“On March 13, former President Mohamed Nasheed began the first day of a 13-year prison sentence on charges of “terrorism.” For those of us who witnessed the birth of democracy in the Maldives in 2008 and its desperate battle to cling to life, news of his sentencing sounded more like a death knell than a court ruling,” writes Mariyam Shiuna, executive director of Transparency Maldives, in an op-ed for the New York Times.

“The Maldives, an island chain off the Southern coast of India, is home to nearly 400,000 people. It attracts tourists and climate change activists (ours will be one of the first nations to sink if the world keeps warming), but few foreigners stay long enough to learn our history or about our struggle for the freedom affluent visitors often take for granted.

“Our hard-won freedoms are now slipping through our fingers. When Mr. Nasheed, an eloquent dissident who had spent several years in prison and in exile, was elected president in our first free and fair elections in 2008, his victory renewed hope for a future in which we could have a say in how the country is governed. Instead, political persecution has intensified, civil society is silenced and media intimidation has become the norm. The United Nations, several Western governments and many local observers have expressed grave concern over the unfair process followed in Mr. Nasheed’s case as well as legal cases involving other politicians and warn that our democracy is rapidly eroding.”

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Discount flats for state officials undermine trust: Transparency

Transparency Maldives has called on the state to refrain from providing “any form of gratuities and privileges to state officials” following the hand over of flats to high-ranking officials.

The government awarded luxury flats at discount prices to Supreme Court judges and four heads of independent bodies including the Anti-Corruption Commission in what it called an attempt to “ensure their integrity”.

The awarding of flats to state officials can be perceived as an attempt by the executive to exert undue influence, Transparency said.

While the state can provide privileges to state officials “based on need and limited to the duration of employment of individuals”, Transparency Maldives expressed concern that the flats are “permanently contracted by the executive to public officials holding time-bound positions of the state”.

“The offering of arbitrary privileges to public officials holding high-ranking positions and the acceptance of such privileges will undermine public trust in these institutions,” the anti-corruption NGO warned.

“TM also notes that upholding integrity in the performance of high-ranking public posts is an integral and core mandate of such positions, and should not be incentivised through handouts of property or other forms of personal enrichment.”

The government has defended its decision to offer discounts on the flats to selected judges and chiefs of independent bodies.

Co-chair of the Economic Council Ahmed Adeeb told a press conference last week that the apartments were awarded to “ensure the integrity of independent institutions”.

“The flats were not handed out. The recipients have to pay for them. This will result in ensured integrity of independent institutions and moreover it will strengthen the state,” he said.

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Respect Criminal Court verdict, says President Yameen

President Abdulla Yameen has called on all parties to respect the Criminal Court’s verdict against former President Mohamed Nasheed.

In a statement released by the President’s Office last night, President Yameen noted that the opposition leader has “a constitutionally guaranteed right of appeal” to challenge his conviction on terrorism charges at the High Court.

“The government calls on its international partners to engage constructively, based on mutual respect and dialogue in consolidating and strengthening democratic values and institutions in the country,” reads the brief statement.

“The government remains steadfast in ensuring the separation of powers as stipulated under the Maldivian constitution and upholding the rule of law in the country.”

In the wake of the Criminal Court sentencing the opposition leader to 13 years in jail on Friday night (March 13), the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union expressed concern with the lack of due process, while Amnesty International said Nasheed’s conviction “after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a travesty of justice.”

Domestically, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives said the former president was denied fundamental rights that guarantee a fair trial in line with the Maldives’ obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Moreover, human rights NGO Maldivian Democracy Network urged the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges to intervene in order to prevent a “slide back to autocracy,” whilst Transparency Maldives expressed “grave concern” and stressed that Nasheed was denied legal representation, the right to appeal, and sufficient time to mount a defence.

However, President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali told Minivan News yesterday that he believed the Criminal Court “would have afforded due process in the conduct of Nasheed’s trial.”

“If you study this case, from the beginning to the end, it is clear the charges are not politically motivated,” Muaz insisted.

President Yameen as head of state could not “interfere in judicial proceedings and is not to blame for court proceedings,” he said.

Intervention

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma released a statement yesterday noting that the intergovernmental organisation would continue to closely follow the judicial process after the verdict.

The Commonwealth urged restraint and advised peaceful resolution of “differences of view” through dialogue.

“The Foreign Minister of Maldives, Hon Dunya Maumoon, has made recent public comments welcoming constructive and close dialogue with international organisations,” the statement read.

The Commonwealth assured its commitment to working with the Maldives to address issues of concern.

“All societies should have the space and opportunity for dialogue in order to ensure that universally shared values are advanced, and to create a stable and harmonious future,” the statement continued.

“All societies should also have national institutions that enjoy the confidence, trust and respect of the people they serve. The Commonwealth is committed to offering practical support in a collaborative partnership to achieve these goals in an enduring way.”

The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has meanwhile called on the UN to hold an emergency session on the situation in the Maldives.

The ACHR “urged the members of the UN Security Council to take necessary measures to seize assets and freeze accounts of President of Maldives Mr Abdulla Yameen, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and the three judges overseeing Nasheed’s trial i.e. Abdulla Didi, Abdul Bari Yoousuf and Sujau Usman and other key officials of the regime, impose travel restrictions and trade embargo, and withhold financial assistance and technical cooperation to the Maldives until the release of Nasheed.”

“The trial is a travesty of justice – Judge [Abdulla Mohamed] who claims himself to have been illegally detained for which former President Nasheed was charged under terrorism charges still heads the Criminal Court trying Nasheed and effectively allowed his deputy, Judge Abdulla Didi, to convict Nasheed in a kangaroo trial. If the United Nations and international community fail to intervene now, democracy may never return to the Maldives,” said ACHR Director Suhas Chakma.

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) also condemned the verdict and noted that Nasheed was “never investigated for the fresh charges of terrorism before trial.”

“The trial of Nasheed was riddled with numerous violations of basic human rights and fair trial standards, and his conviction must be condemned. This is a clear case of political persecution and therefore the verdict is not surprising, considering the manner in which the court has conducted the trial,” said Forum-Asia Executive Director Evelyn Balais-Serrano.


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Transparency reviews the Majlis in 2014

Transparency Maldives has published its 2014 Majlis review, reporting that 10 bills were passed in 59 sittings of the 18th People’s Majlis.

Of the 85 members elected to the expanded parliament in March, only 16 have had a flawless attendance record since, with an overall attendance figure of 90 percent.

The members from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had the worst average attendance of the three main parties – 85 percent, compared with the Jumhooree Party’s (JP) 91 percent and the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) 93 percent.

It was the Maldivian Development Alliance leader, and Progressive Coalition member, Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam who had the worst attendance of any MP, appearing at less than half the sessions, reported Transparency.

Other than the Adhaalath Party, for whom Makunudhoo MP Anara Naeem is the only MP, Siyam’s MDA was the only party whose representation in the 18th Majlis has remained stable.

Despite winning 33 seats in the March polls, the PPM has now gained an additional 11 MPs, while its former ally the JP has a net loss of 2 seats.

After winning a disappointing 26 seats in the house, the MDP lost 4 MPs to opposition parties as well as expelling Majlis Deputy Speaker ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik from the party.

Legislation

The most important legislative changes brought by the Majlis in 2014 were the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act, the new Penal Code, the Special Economic Zone Act, and amendments to the Judicature Act.

The report describes the benefit of the money-laundering bill as preventing terrorism financing, kleptocracy, narco-trafficking, human trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, counterfeiting currency, corruption, and transnational organised crimes.

“Money laundering has potentially destructive social and economic consequences. It allows criminals such as drug traffickers, corrupt officials, and transnational organised crime syndicates to introduce illicit proceeds or ‘dirty money’ into legitimate finance streams as legal funds,” explained the anti-corruption NGO.

The new penal code – to be introduced in April this year – represents the culmination of 10 years’ work and will replace an old code that has been described by legal experts as obstructing the course of justice due to its “outdated” nature, read the review.

“In April 2004, the new penal code was finally passed, making it the first modern, comprehensive penal code in the world to incorporate the major tenets and principles of Islamic law.”

Parliamentary group attendance

The report described the government’s flagship Special Economic Zones Act as laying “an edifice for economic, industrial, social, financial and infrastructural development.”

“It allows economic activities to be carried out under a relatively liberal manner through tax exemptions to investors and developers.”

Despite the promise of major ‘transformative’ investment – yet to be realised, the opposition has argued that the bill will “allow the government to conduct transactions broadly with no transparency and no opportunity for oversight, as a result of which the possibility of losing the country’s independence and sovereignty would be high”.

The SEZ was passed in August in the face of 300 proposed MDP amendments.

Appointments and dismissals

Regarding the changes to the Judicature Act – which facilitated the removal of two Supreme Court judges – Transparency’s report pointed out its previous concerns over the “political influence on the judiciary in the Maldives”.

Amendments requiring the reduction of the bench from seven to five in December saw the JSC swiftly select Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and Justice Muthasim Adnan in a decision marked for its lack of transparency.

The Majlis’ subsequent approval of the pair’s dismissal was described as a “black day for the constitution” by Faiz, while UN Special Rapporteur Gabriella Knaul predicted a “chilling effect” on the work of the judiciary.

Finally, the review of the Majlis’ work for 2014 noted the appointment of a number of key figures, including Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin – appointed after political wrangling saw the constitutionally mandated deadline for filling the position missed by six months.

After the Supreme Court removed the Elections Commission’s senior leadership less than a month before the Majlis elections, MPs appointed Mohamed Shakeel and Ahmed Sulaiman to the commission in November. They were also joined by Ismail Habeeb Abdul Raheem and Amjad Musthafa in receiving Majlis approval.

The Majlis appointment of President Abdulla Yameen’s nomination of Hassan Ziyath as the new auditor general in November was also a source of controversy, with outgoing auditor general Niyaz Ibrahim arguing that his removal had been unconstitutional.

Niyaz was ousted as a result of last minute changes to the Auditor General’s Act, proposed to the the Majlis by the PPM on the same day the audit office published a report implicating tourism minister and deputy PPM leader Ahmed Adeeb in a US$6 million corruption scandal.



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Transparency Maldives notes “grave concern” over undemocratic trends

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Building trust – Transparency Maldives calls for enhanced asset disclosure

Transparency Maldives’ 2013 Global Corruption Barometer Survey found 97 percent of respondents believed corruption was a problem in the public sector, while the 2013 Maldives Democracy Survey revealed an alarming lack of confidence in democratic institutions.

“Most striking of all, however, are the remarkably high levels of cynicism of the public. Maldivians are far more cynical than publics in other comparable countries,” concluded the ‘Democracy at the Crossroads’ report.

A position paper released by the anti-corruption NGO last week, however, suggests a way to repair the country’s threadbare trust in its public figures through an enhanced asset disclosure regime.

“Asset declaration generally requires a certain category of public officials—also identified as ‘politically exposed persons’ to describe individuals entrusted with prominent public functions—to disclose their financial and business interests,” explains TM’s paper.

TM note that an effective asset disclosure system can detect corruption, demonstrate the government’s commitment to fight corruption, help make officials accountable, and – crucially – increase public trust.

The paper was produced after consultations with the Anti-Corruption Commission, the secretary general of the Majlis, and with then-Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim.

Niyaz was replaced in October after amendments to the Audit Act were rushed through the Majlis just days after a report from his office implicated tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb in a US$6 million corruption scandal.

The same report also noted that Adeeb had failed to disclose his assets – as required under Article 138 of the Constitution – since his appointment to the post in 2012.

Hobbled system

Although Adeeb has denied the allegations and since pledged to release his financial statement to the media, TM Advocacy and Communications Manager Aiman Rasheed feels the incident provides a perfect example of why asset disclosure is essential.

“I believe that it is a right for the public to know the truth regarding the allegations of corruption against Minister for Tourism Adeeb. Asset disclosure is a mechanism to put to rest baseless allegations and to hold to account perpetrators of corruption.”

Rasheed noted that, under the current asset disclosure system, it is impossible to either prove or disprove whether such charges are politically motivated attempts at defamation – as Adeeb has claimed.

“In addition to the already hobbled asset declaration system, the absence of a verification mechanism means allegations of corruption—in particular, those concerning misappropriation of funds and illicit enrichment—are not investigated,” read the position paper.

TM argue that various systemic deficits are hindering the effectiveness of the current constitutional provisions.

Members of the Majlis – perceived as the most corrupt institution in the 2013 corruption barometer – have previously told Minivan News of their support for asset disclosure, with some reservations.

While all MPs asked about the practice in a series of interviews prior to this year’s Majlis elections backed the system, some suggested the disclosure of family members’ assets and of individuals’ net wealth to be too invasive.

Former MP Abdulla Mausoom – who did not stand for re-election – also suggested that full public disclosure may reduce the quality of MPs, suggesting that voters may be reluctant to select less wealthy individuals.

A number of MPs suggested an alternative system whereby additional income gained after entering the Majlis be used to gauge any potentially illegal enrichment.

Recommendations

While the Constitution requires the president and cabinet, MPs, and judges to submit annual declarations to the auditor general, the Majlis, and the Judicial Services Commission, respectively, the subsequent information is not available to the public.

The former auditor general told TM that a lack of punitive measures for those failing to submit information rendered the system ineffective.

TM noted that the current system does not require the submission of assets for spouses and children of public officials “which makes cases of illicit enrichment and conflicts of interest invisible and harder to detect.”

“Moreover, the disclosure of business and activities outside the jurisdiction of Maldives, and details of substantial gifts or benefits are also not a requirement in the current system,” stated the paper.

Furthermore, a number of high level officials are overlooked altogether by the current system, including the vice president, members of independent institutions, officials of state-owned companies and even the auditor general himself.

The position paper concluded with a number of recommendations including greater uniformity in current regulations as well as support for their implementation.

TM called for full public disclosure of assets, noting the positive impact on public perceptions of corruption in countries where the public could access such records.

It was also noted that an independent verification mechanism would identify conflicts of interest as well as reducing undue influence.

“Perceived corruption is lower in countries that verify officials’ statement than in countries that do not verify declaration content,” said the NGO – citing the 2006 Global Corruption Report of its sister organisation Transparency International.

The same report was also mentioned to suggest that sanctions for non-compliance would also enhance the public’s trust in their democratic institutions.

“Implementing an strong asset disclosure regime would show the state’s commitment to fight corruption and would give a strong message to public servants, a message of zero tolerance to corruption,” said Rasheed.

“We must do away with the culture of secrecy to prevent illicit enrichment, fraud, etc, and to do that, asset disclosure is key.”



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Transparency Maldives launches Majlis-civil society ‘Dialogue Group’

Transparency Maldives (TM) has launched a Dialogue Group between members of parliament and civil society organisations, aimed at increasing public participation in decision making.

In a press release to mark the first meeting today, TM noted that the group has been established “to foster a culture of openness and transparency in the Parliament”.

Recent decisions in the Majlis regarding the reappointment of the prosecutor general and the removal of two Supreme Court judges this week prompted the anti-corruption NGO to express “grave concerns” about undemocratic trends in the country.

The Dialogue Group – which comprised three Majlis members and seven civil society groups – also discussed signing an MoU to clarify the group’s mandate and show commitment to further engagement.

Representing the Majlis in today’s meeting were Maldivian Democratic Party MP Imthiyaz Fahmy, Adhaalath MP Anara Naeem, and Jumhooree Party MP Ali Hussain.

Civil society was meanwhile represented by TM, the Society for Health Education (SHE), the Care Society, the Islamic Foundation, Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC), and Hope for Women, as well as a group from Hirilandhoo in Thaa Atoll.

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Transparency Maldives notes “grave concern” over undemocratic trends

Transparency Maldives (TM) has called upon the state and political parties to operate within the Constitution, and to respect democratic norms and principles.

“Transparency Maldives notes with grave concern the increasing trend of undermining democratic practices and institutions by the State,” read a statement from the NGO today.

TM cited the attempts to reduce the number of judges in the Supreme Court, the sudden removal of the auditor general by the parliament, and the resolution  of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) calling for the presidency to be handed over to Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim.

The MDP, private lawyers, and civil society groups have also heavily criticised the – now successful – attempts to remove Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and Justice Muthasim Adnan from the Supreme Court.

In a statement released prior to the Majlis decision to remove the pair, TM argued that their removal would further undermine the independence of the judiciary.

“The impartiality and independence of the Supreme Court is not solely decided by the number of Supreme Court Justices but rather by the upholding of judicial integrity and principles,” argued the anti-corruption NGO.

TM said the decision to dismiss the pair without publicising the criteria used to deem them guilty of gross misconduct or gross incompetence – as required in Article 154 of the Constitution – raised questions about the fairness of the process.

“The criteria used must be objective, based on merit, transparent and well-publicised so that any public concerns about the process may be addressed.

The NGO suggested that amendments to the Judicature Act also denied the judges in question the right to defend themselves prior to their dismissal – a point also made today by the Maldivian Democracy Network.

Auditor General removal

Similarly, Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim was removed from his post in October after pro-government MPs introduced amendments to the Audit Act.

“TM notes that the recent amendment to the Audit Act which abruptly ended the tenure of the sitting Auditor General, before the Constitutionally mandated seven-year term serves to undermine the independence of the Auditor General’s Office,” said today’s statement.

The press release further noted that the removal of the auditor general is only constitutionally allowed for proven misconduct, incapacity, or incompetence.

Niyaz’s removal was justified on the grounds that the Audit Act predated the 2008 Constitution and thereby did not include the current responsibilities, powers, mandate, qualifications, and ethical standards required for the post holder.

Niyaz chose not to stand again for the post, requesting the High Court to place an injunction against the new amendment – though his replacement was sworn in on November 24, within on hour of his approval by the Majlis.

“It must be noted that the passing of the amendment and the consequent removal of the Auditor General coincided with the release of an incriminating audit report against a Government Minister.”

The same day the Majlis authorised Niyaz’ removal, Niyaz had signed an audit report which implicated Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb in a US$6million corruption scandal.

Adeeb – also Progressive Party of Maldives deputy leader – was quick to dismiss the report as politically motivated, while the government appears to have taken no further action in the case – despite pre-election pledges to root out corruption.

“TM calls on state authorities to ensure that heads of independent state institutions are given the autonomy to do their mandated work free from insecurity.”

MDP Gasim decree

Finally, TM denounced the MDP’s resolution which called on President Abdulla Yameen to hand power to JP leader Gasim Ibrahim.

The position taken by the party’s national council last week was condemned by TM as an “attempt to destabilize the elected government and infers overriding the electoral processes stipulated in the Constitution.”

The MDP leadership suggested that growing gang violence – which has resulted in four murders in the capital this year – coupled with the water crisis meant the president should step down.

“The president is not fulfilling presidential duties and ruling in absentia. So it is better for him to handover governance to Gasim Ibrahim,” said former President Nasheed during the meeting.

“TM reminds that any change in government should only be brought by a vote of the people and calls on state parties to not undermine the electoral processes of the country.”

The PPM responded to the resolution last week by accusing the MDP of attempting to disturb peace and unity during the water shortage.

The PPM also characterised the national council decision as an “undemocratic and uncivilised” attempt to topple a legitimately elected government.



Related to this story

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Majlis passes amendment allowing president to reappoint auditor general

MDP calls on the government to hand power to JP leader Gasim

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