Losing PPM Majlis candidate asks for police intelligence to prove bribery

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Ibrahim ‘Hiyaaly’ Rasheed – recent runner-up in the Mid-Hithadhoo constituency seat – has today asked the High Court for police intelligence regarding the bribery allegations he has made.

Rasheed’s lawyer – PPM MP-elect Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ Waheed – is reported to have told the High Court that was unsure whether police intelligence had information regarding bribery involved in this specific poll, though he knew there was evidence of bribery in some races.

Rasheed lost the constituency seat to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Didi, who won just over 43 percent of the popular vote.

Wadde alleged that the other two candidates in the Mid-Hithadhoo contest had distributed money and other things as bribes to influence the election, and also that they had withheld the ID cards of constituents.

Wadde had submitted the names of 10 witnesses to prove his client’s allegations that there was bribery involved in the parliamentary elections.

Local media also reported that Ibrahim Mohamed Didi was involved in to the case today, with Didi’s lawyer reportedly telling the court that there were procedures to follow when issues arose regarding elections, before filing a lawsuit at the court.

The judge inquired as to whether Rasheed had filed the complaints with any other institution and his lawyer told the court that he had not.

Ibrahim Mohamed Didi won the Mid-Hithadhoo constituency seat with 1,099 votes. Rasheed got 898 votes, while independent candidate Hussain Solih got 554 votes.

Ibrahim Didi is still facing charges for the controversial military detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012, though the case has been stalled for over 12 months.

Didi was also the Malé area commander in a special operation conducted by the military ‘Operation Liberty Shield’ to control unrest in Male’ following the arrest of the judge.

On 3 April, the opposition MDP condemned alleged attempts by government-aligned parties to influence voting in the recently held parliamentary elections through coercion and threats.

“The MDP expresses concern and strongly condemns the actions of government-aligned political persons to buy votes, threaten people with losing their jobs, and instruct some voters to make a special marking on ballot papers – thereby compromising the confidentiality of votes cast,” the party said in a statement issued that day.

The MDP accused the ruling parties of threatening that individuals would lose their jobs, and requiring these people to specially mark their ballot paper in order for observers and party representatives to see how the vote was cast.

Following the conclusion of the election, Transparency Maldives stated that while it was well-administered and transparent, “wider issues of money politics threatens to hijack the democratic process”.

On March 27, The Adhaalath Party spokesperson Sheikh Ali Zahir told Minivan News that the party lost many seats it ought to have won in the Majlis elections due to bribery and undue influence from competing candidates on all sides.

“It was really sad that a lot of money transactions were involved in it, it was an obstacle to electing the most capable person to the parliament,’’ Zahir told Minivan News at the time.


Supreme Court accepts case to invalidate transfer of power to speaker

The Supreme Court has accepted a petition to invalidate a People’s Majlis resolution authorizing the Speaker to assume the presidency in the absence of a president elect by the end of the current presidential term on November 11.

The case was filed by by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s lawyer Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ Waheed.

Speaking to Minivan News, Wadde said that he did not believe that the parliament’s resolution constituted a resolution, and said he did not know any legal term with which to refer to the parliament’s decision as it was against the constitution and laws.

”The decision is clearly against the constitution and I have requested the Supreme Court to invalidate the decision,” he said. ”The parliament on October 27 passed that decision that says that all powers of president must be transferred to the parliament Speaker or someone in the parliament.”

He explained that he had originally filed the case on October 29 before the Supreme Court accepted it today.

On October 27, the resolution was passed at a sitting scheduled in response to a letter to Speaker Abdulla Shahid from President Dr Mohamed Waheed requesting parliament “to take initiative in finding a solution to any legal issues that will arise if a new president is not elected by the end of the current term [on November 11].”

The resolution was submitted by MDP parliamentary group leader and MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and supported by MDP MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.

In a Q&A with the speaker Minivan News asked his opinion on the government aligned MP’s suggestion that the Supreme Court should decide on interim arrangements.

”We have had some MPs calling on the military to take over. I think these individuals are very unfamiliar with democracy. And democratic principles. And it is a shame they sit in a house which is supposed to represent the people,” responded Shahid.

During the interview he also expressed his hope that President Dr Waheed will respect the resolution as it was he who initiated it.

”He wanted the parliament to initiate and tell him what the parliament thinks. The parliament is the representative body of the people of this country. And the parliament overwhelmingly, with the majority of the total parliament, adopted this resolution,” he told Minivan News.

The same day, Waheed also submitted another case to the court asking it to rule that the MDP MP Ahmed Hamza’s appointment to the judicial watchdog – the Judicial Services Commission  – was conducted in breach of the constitution.

Waheed also submitted a case to the Supreme Court requesting it to rule that Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party Leader and MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali was disqualified as an MP.

In addition to these cases, Wadde – alongside Jumhooree Coalition member ‘Madhanee Ihthihaadh’ (Civil Alliance) President Sheikh Mohamed Didi – filed a case in the apex court challenging the candidacy of the MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed.

This filing of this particular case was criticised by both the president and senior PPM leadership.


PPM member asks Supreme Court to remove DRP leader from parliament

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and prominent lawyer Mohamed ‘Wadde’ Waheed has filed a case at the Supreme Court requesting the court disqualify Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader and MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali from parliament.

Wadde yesterday told local media that Thasmeen took a MVR2.9million (US$188,067) loan from Parliament Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim and did not pay the money back in accordance with a Civil Court ruling.

Nazim filed a case at the Civil Court in 2011 to recover MVR1.9million (US$124,513) unpaid out of the MVR2.9 Million (US$188,067) Thasmeen took from him as a loan.

Article 73(c) of the constitution states: “A person shall be disqualified from election as, a member of the People’s Majlis, or a member of the People’s Majlis immediately becomes disqualified, if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as provided in the judgment.”

Wadde said that, although Thasmeen had now paid all the money, he did not pay according to the Civil Court ruling, which required the repayment of MVR320,000 (US$20,779) each month for six consecutive months to clear the debt.

The Civil Court ruling came in April 2011, with Thasmeen unsuccessfully appealing the case at the High Court the same month.

In June 2012, Nazim filed another case at the Civil Court because Thasmeen was not paying as per the Civil Court resulting in the court issuing a warrant freezing all the bank accounts of Thasmeen and ordering the Immigration Department to hold Thasmeen’s passport.

Lawyer Wadde was chosen to contest the Kaashidhoo parliamentary by-election for the PPM in March 2012, before the party decided to support now-MDP MP Abdulla Jabir – then a member of the Jumhooree Party – prompting public criticism from Wadde.

The lawyer was also at odds with his party’s senior leadership last month after filing a case in the Supreme Court challenging opposition MDP candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s candidacy.

In October Wadde also submitted a case to the Supreme Court seeking a ruling against the motion passed by parliament to appoint Speaker Abdulla Shahid as interim head of state in the instance that an elected president cannot be installed by the constitutionally mandated date, November 11.

The same day, Wadde also submitted another case to the court asking it to rule that the MDP MP Ahmed Hamza’s appointment to the judicial watchdog – the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) – was conducted in breach of the constitution.

Last night, the MDP issued a statement condemning the filing of the case against Thasmeen, alleging that the PPM was trying to undermine the constitution through the Supreme Court.

The party called upon the PPM to stop all of its works against the spirit of democracy.

The MDP said the PPM was using the Supreme Court to defeat political opponents because is understood that it had been defeated in the political field.

The Supreme Court ruled on October 24 that both MDP MP Ali Azim DRP MP Mohamed Nashiz be stripped of their parliamentary seats over decreed debt. The ruling was subsequently rejected by the Parliamentary Privileges Committee, with scuffles ensuing between the military and MPs at the subsequent Majlis session.

The current MDP and DRP alignment constitutes a simple majority in parliament.

The party also said that the citizens would not allow the PPM to use courts under the influence of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to deprive the MDP of its majority in parliament.