|Mohamed Nasheed (2008 ~2012) |
President of Maldives
This document briefly outlines four areas of democratic reversal under President Nasheed. They are: undermining judicial independence, undermining free media, increased corruption and nepotism.
Undermining Judicial Independence
- On 4th February 2009, the Chief Judge of the Civil Court, Justice Shuaib was warned, demoted and transferred to the Juvenile Court. The reason was that during a Judicial Service Commission meeting he defended a Supreme Court decision. The Chair of the Commission Mr. Hassan Afeef (then MDP Parliamentary Group Chair and Minister of Home Affairs later) was clearly unhappy over the remarks.
- On the night of 2nd June 2009, Nasheed’s Attorney General Mr. Husnu-al-Soud openly criticized the judiciary in an MDP rally held in the capital Male’. And on the very next day, Attorney General held a live press conference, in which he leveled further criticism at the Justices of the Civil Court, as well as the Interim Chief Justice. On 8th June 2009, the opposition DRP/PA parliamentary alliance tabled an emergency motion in Parliament to condemn the AG’s behavior but MDP MPs disrupted the proceedings.
- Nasheed reduced the judiciary’s budget in 2010 by 48 percent. This reduction came despite the fact that overall national budget for 2010 showed little or no change in total figures from the preceding year.
- On 2nd August 2010, at the instruction of President Nasheed, Maldives Police Service blocked the Judicial Services Commission and Department of Judicial Administration and prevented its staff from carrying out their work.
- On 1st February 2011 the Civil Court invalidated government decision to grant city status to Addu. Ruling MDP members led by MPs padlocked several court buildings in Addu Atoll. They also chased security officials and padlocked Justice Building in Male which houses the Civil Court, Criminal Court and Family Court .
- Just before the Supreme Court began Habeas Corpus hearing for cases filed by Political leaders MPs Hon. Qasim and Hon. Yamin in 2010, President Nasheed tried to speak to the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed. When the Chief Justice refused to take the call, President Nasheed sent a member of his own protection force with a mobile phone and forced the Chief Justice to take his call.
- When the Supreme Court declared the arrest of Hon Qasim and Hon Yameen unlawful President Nasheed sent military to escort the Chief Justice to military headquarters in the middle of night and demanded answers why the Court passed such a judgment.
- On 1st August 2011, MP Hon. Dr. Afrasheem Ali, Vice Presidency of the Judicial Service Commission, revealed to the public that President Nasheed called him on phone and requested to dismiss certain judges even though the law prohibited such action.
- On 22nd October 2011 President Nasheed’s Advisor Mr. Ibrahim Ismail, publically described the seven Supreme Court Justices as “The Seven Lunatics”, and “were mentally retarded” and that they do not have the ability to understand the Constitution.
- Through explicit threats, the Government created a culture of fear and apprehension among the members of the judiciary. As a result, some judges “parked” politically-sensitive cases, including cases where fundamental rights were violated.
Disobedience to Judicial Procedures and Orders
- Article 296 of the Constitution stipulated that Parliamentary Elections be held before 15th February 2009. The Supreme Court ruled that the government must comply with the 15th February 2009 deadline. The government, however, disregarded the ruling and MPs from the ruling MDP ridiculed the Supreme Court Justices on the parliamentary floor. Sessions of Parliament were telecast live by the national broadcaster in the Maldives. The ruling party then went on an extensive smear campaign against the Supreme Court Justices on the government-controlled national broadcaster TVM (Television Maldives) and VOM. (Voice of Maldives)
- On 5th November 2009, the Criminal Court had returned, on procedural grounds, two high profile cases filed by the Prosecutor General involving the former Speaker of Parliament and Cabinet Minister, Mr. Abdulla Hameed and the former State Minister of Higher Education and current Deputy Speaker of Parliament, MP Ahmed Nazim. Instead of complying with the procedural requirements or appealing against the Criminal Court decision President Nasheed chose to send a letter to the Judicial Service Commission seeking an investigation into the matter. The President also discussed the matter in Cabinet. The President backed down only when the Court accepted the two cases.
- Parliament created a legislative body to handle state media. Nasheed ratified the law but refused to implement it even when the Court ordered to do so.
|Reeko Moosa Calling for the Establishment of Kangaroo Courts|
The People's Court headed by himself on 15th July 2010
Establishing "Kangaroo Courts"(Peoples Court)
- In a rally held at the south-east corner of Male’ on 15th July 2010, “People’s court” was declared open by MPD Parliamentary Group Leader Hon. Reeko Moosa Maniku.
- Speaking at the opening ceremony, Moosa Maniku noted that in the “People’s Court”, the public was the judge. He also stressed that President Nasheed would be mandated to implement all the judgments passed by the People’s Court.
- The first ruling of the court was issued on the same day. It ordered President Nasheed to disregard any decision by the Parliament or judiciary. This ceremony was attended by MDP parliamentary group members and senior officials of the MDP.
- The People’s Court passed sentences, including death sentences against senior politicial leaders and judges of various courts.
- MDP MP for Feydhoo constituency, setup a similar “People’s court” in Addu City on 2nd February 2011. A first ruling was to Pad Lock Addu Hithadhoo Court.
The Supreme Court Crisis
- On the instruction of President Nasheed, on 7th August 2010 security forces padlocked the Supreme Court and prevented Justices from entering the building.
- The Prosecutor General filed a case against the government in the Civil Court. The Court ordered to handover the keys to the Supreme Court. However, Nasheed and his government refused to obey the court ruling.
The Musthafa Case
- On 20th October 2011, the Supreme Court scheduled a hearing to deliver a verdict over the MDP Parliamentary Group member Mohamed Musthafa. The case was filed by an opposition politician seeking the disqualification of MP Musthafa from office on the ground that he had certain unsettled debts.
- Senior MDP government officials, MPs and members gathered outside the court and prevented the Supreme Court from passing the judgment.
Undermining Free Media
- The only radio and television with nationwide coverage are the state-owned ones. Article 23(e) of the Constitution requires equal access to such media. To give effect to this Clause, Parliament passed the Public Broadcasting Act. The President ratified the law. And on 12th July 2010 the Parliament appointed a nine-member Board to manage the state media. Nasheed failed to get his supporters on the Board. So he simply refused to enforce the law even when the Civil Court ordered him to do so.
- State media remained under tight control of the government until President Waheed freed it in February 2012.
Denying fair access to state media during Parliamentary electionIn 2009 Parliamentary election government denied the opposition access to state media. The government only allowed the opposition to buy airtime at a cost of US$ 2200 per hour for Television Maldives and US $1000 for Voice of Maldives.
|DhiTV Studio in Male|
Cautioning on DhiTV editorial contentThe senior officials from the private television station, DhiTV were summoned to the Department of Information on Thursday, 23 July 2009 and cautioned on DhiTV’s editorial contents. The Constitution does not allow the Government to control or influence the editorial content of media.
Police Order to Shutdown transmission of a private radio channel
- In the night of 28 January 2010, there was a protest near Muliaage, the President’s residence. The protest was organized by the main opposition. The private radio channel DhiFM was carrying out a live coverage of the protest. Police officers in plain clothes entered the premises and ordered to stop the transmission.
- The following day Department of Information demanded and obtained DhiFM audio recording and punished it by revoking points from DhiFM broadcasting license.
Intimidating the private TV channel VTV
Warning by Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) on private mediaOn 23rd December 2011 opposition parties, NGOs, and the citizens organized a mass gathering against government’s religious policies. President Nasheed too organized similar event on that very day. The two events were live telecast by all the radio and television stations. Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) sent a letter to some private television stations threatening to shut down stations that covered protests affecting national security.
Warning from Minister of Defense and National SecurityOn 26th December 2011 Minister of Defense, Mr. Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu reiterated Government’s position while attending questions from Members of Parliament. He openly stated his intention to take action against media that disseminate particular news and information about national security. He warned that such TV stations, Radio Channels and Print media would be penalized and padlocked, if necessary.
Government files a case against the private TV channel DhiTV
- In January 2012 President’s office has asked to police to take action against DhiTV for airing a program critical of government’s religious policy of the current government.
- Press Secretary reaffirmed the government’s intention on taking action against private media
- In January 2012 President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair also threatened to take actions against media that aired opposition views critical of government religious policies.
Nasheed’s policy was government should not do business. Under that policy state-owned companies were privatized and their shares sold, often at a highly discounted rate and in a hurried manner.
On the one hand Nasheed advocated for privatization and sold most profitable state owned companies, on the other hand he set up a large number of state-owned companies to reward his party activists. As a result State-owned enterprises increased from 21 in 2008 to 67 during his 3 year rule. Non- of these companies had any business plan or made any business sense. The government pumped money.
The 46 newly established SOEs add up to 196 Board members, with salaries ranging from MVR 9,736 to MVR43,000.
Consigning Male International Airport to GMR:
On 28th June 2010, the Parliament amended the Public Finance Act prohibiting sale of state assets without Parliamentary approval. The amendment was primarily aimed at preventing the sale of the country’s only functioning international airport to GMR of India. Nasheed not disregarded the law he even refused to ratify the law. He went ahead with sale of the airport. President Nasheed’s Economic Advisor Mr Ali Shiyam was the chair of the bid evaluating committee.
Heavy Load awarded airport reclamation.
One of the first big contracts GMR awarded was airport dredging. Several companies bid for the dredging project at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. Even though there were more qualified, experienced companies, the project was awarded to Heavy Load Maldives for a USD3 million more than the bid proposed by more experienced companies.
Heavy Load is a owned by MDP Parliamentary Group Chair Hon. Reeko Moosa. At the time of the award, Heavy Load had only a second hand broken dredger!
Airport Development Charge
The airport contract authorized GMR to deduct USD27 dollars from every departing passenger. This was, however, subject to existing laws and regulations of the country. The law required an amendment to the relevant law before such deduction could take place. However, GMR decided to go ahead with the deduction without waiting for necessary laws. The Civil Court declared it unconstitutional. However, the Chairman of MACL – the airport owner, on his own and without the company’s board approval, agreed to deduct an equal amount of money from what is due to it. As a result, out of the $8.7 million the government was expected to receive for the first quarter of 2012, only $525 thousand was paid.
Awarding Thilafushi reclamation to Heavy Load
State-owned company Thilafushi Corporation, on 30th September 2010, awarded a USD23 million reclamation contract to Heavy Load Maldives. It was announced as a contractor-financed project. The project was to be completed in 72 days. But once awarded to Heavy Load it was changed from contractor-financed to employer-financed contract. After reclaiming only only 32 hectares out of the 157 hectares the company abandoned the project but pocketted the bulk of the contract price.
The country’s anti-corruption watchdog – ACC, found that:
- There was no Board Resolution authorizing the project award to Heavy Load.
- As security for the advance payment of $3 million, Heavy Load mortgaged 3 vessels. But the total cost of the vessels was only $1.8 million. The document authorizing this mortgage was without a Board Resolution, and on plain paper (not on letterhead).
- The project was agreed to be completed in 72 days (from 30th September 2010 to 19 January 2011). By 22 May 2011, only 10.4 hectares was reclaimed (only 6% of the needed).
Supplying Oil to Heavy Load on a TLC guarantee
- Heavy Load Maldives requested for fuel for credit from the State-owned Fuel Supplier Maldives Pvt. Ltd (FSM). As security, the Heavy Load submitted Thilafushi Corporation guarantee for fuel worth MVR 5 million.
- TLC guarantee did not have a Board Resolution to back it.
- The release of fuel was against the Credit Policy at FSM which was if a credit of over MVR 1 million is to be issued, it would be only based on customer history. This included no outstanding payments, nor any bounced cheques.
- However, Heavy Load Maldives had 11 cheques bounced before that date, and another 6 cheques bounced after that date.
- Heavy Load Maldives has not paid any of the dues. As a result, by 27th February 2012, Heavy Load Maldives owed FSM a total of MVR 5.4 million.
Awarding Kadhdhoo Guest House to Heavy Load
- On 7th January 2010 government invited tenders to take up a 3-year lease of a government Guest Houses at Laamu Atoll Kadhdhoo.
- Heavy Load Maldives offered the highest lease rent.
- On 4th November 2010, Ministry of Transport and Communications and Heavy Load Maldives entered into an Agreement for leasing the guest house.
- Under the terms of the Agreement, Heavy Load paid a security deposit of MVR1,670,834.10 (the equivalent of 6 months rent). They were also required to pay the rent for 1 year within 15 days of signing the Agreement. But, after the award, this was changed to scheduled payments of 6 instalments. Even then the company did not pay government dues. When finally payment was demanded Heavy Load, on 28th March 2012, said that they need 20 years to recover the investment on the Guest Houses – hence requested an extension of the lease for 50 years.
- When the Government finally took over the facility on 20th May 2012, Heavy Load owed a total rent and fines of MVR 48,664,744.52 (forty eight million six hundred and sixty four thousand seven hundred and forty four Rufiyaa and fifty two Lari).
- The biggest tobacco importer in the country is President Nasheed’s close friend and his Chief-of-Staff Mr Ahmed Mausoom.
- Parliament increased import duty on tobacco and tobacco products to 150%.
- The cabinet then decided to give 30% duty exemption on all goods unloaded to regional ports.
- Mr. Mausoom’s company (Aries) regularly unloaded cigarette shipments to Kulhudhuffushi Port and straight away loaded them back onto a boat to be transported to Male’. Authorities turned a blind eye.
- The biggest importer of perfumes and cosmetics in the country is Nasheed’s first Finance Minister Mr. Ali Hashim and his Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Mr. Mahmood Razi.
- Through 9th Amendment to the Export Import Act government cut duty on perfume and cosmetics substantially while retaining or increasing duty on some food items.
NPC CSR Projects
- The Government decided to lease some 60 islands to be developed as resorts under a scheme called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) where the awardee was required to undertake certain social work in return for the award.
- Many of the CSR projects submitted did not conform to the format required by government, nor were they evaluated against the requirements of the proposal.
- Of the 28 projects decided to be awarded, 61% of projects (17) were awarded to companies owned by senior MDP members.
- All the 6 signed projects with individuals were with prominent figures of MDP, including Fathimath Shiuna (senior MDP activist and a close aid of Nasheed), President Nasheed’s Legal Secretary Hisan Hussain’s uncle.
F-Tech Medical Supply Fraud
- F-Tech, a paper company of MDP activists, was awarded a contract to import medical consumables worth MVR12.7 million in 2010.
- There were several experienced companies who bid for the project, and a new company with no license to import medical consumables was awarded the project.
- Reports by the Auditor General revealed that the agreed medical consumables were not supplied, but the papers were forged, and payments were made to F-Tech.
- The Ministry of Finance and Treasury helped to open the LC for F-Tech, and although the contract was between F-Tech and Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Treasury made all the payments to F-Tech.
- Government sold 20% shares in MWSC, a State-owned company, to Hitachi Plant Technologies of Japan at a highly discounted rate. In return the Japanese company was required to provide, at its own expense, water and sewerage services to Addu, Fuvah Mulah, Kulhudhuffushi, Hulhumale’, Maafushi, for the next 35 years. MWSC was also granted exclusive licence to provide water and sewerage services to those locations.
- The government then entered into a contract with a British company - Biwater to provide water in Addu in which the government paid $15 million while rest of the proposed $27 million was to come as loans. No loans were raised. Government money was used to lay pipelines in a small area in the island of Hithadhoo in Addu.
- For no reason the government ended up spending $15 over something which MWSC was obligated to carry out on its own cost.
Consigning Addu Dhoogas to MVK
- State-owned MTCC provided transport in the Southern Province, Addu, and Fuvah Mulah. Without any subsidy the company was making money.
- But for no reason the government decided terminate MTCC operation and award it to MVK Maldives with exclusive right of 50 years. The government also gave MVK a state owned city hotel as subsidy.
- MVK Maldives was biggest financial contributor to Nasheed’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Government loan to Nasheed’s Advisor
- Mandhu Colledge was owned and operated by President Nasheed’s Political Advisor and former MDP President Mr. Ibrahim Ismail.
- Government gave Mandhu College a MVR 3 million rufiyaa loan from the Education Fund. This was ten times the maximum amount allowed.
- President’s Office sanctioned loan. No amount of the loan has so far been repaid.
Nepotism and Cronyism
Below are a few examples of nepotism and cronyism under Nasheed’s government.
- Housing, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Aslam is married to President Nasheed's 2nd cousin Naseema’s daughter Aishath Rameeza.
- Housing Minister Aslam’s younger brother Assad was State Minister for Finance.
- Health Minister Aminath Jameel is married to Sikka Mohamed Ismail Maniku (kuda Sikka), whose elder brother is Sikka Ahmed Ismail Maniku (Bodu Sikka - the convicted November 3rd terrorist leader) who is married to President Nasheed’s aunt (father’s own sister).
- President Nasheed’s close friend DIK Ali Hashim was the first Finance Minister, and Acting Attorney General.
- Finance Minister Ali Hashim’s business partner Mahmood Raazee was the Minister for Civil Aviation.
- President Nasheed's father is second cousin to Kerafa Ahmed Naseem - the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
- MDP Parliamentary Group Chair and President Nasheed’s nominee for Speaker of Parliament, was his cousin Fazna Ahmed’s husband Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He is MP for Lhaviyani Hinnavaru constituency.
- President Nasheed’s cousin by marriage Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s younger brother Niyaz Solih was Deputy State Minister for Medhu Uthuru Province.
- President Nasheed's cousin, Eva Abdulla (his aunt Zuheyra's daughter), is MDP MP for Galolhu constituency.
- Eva Abdulla’s husband Saabe was the Deputy Chair of the Elections Commission. Saabe and Housing Minister Aslam are business partners.
- Saabe’s father Ogaru Mohamed Fulhu was the Deputy Mayor for Male’.
- President Nasheed’s uncle by marriage and Eva Abdulla’s father Deyliya Abdulla Mohamed’s younger sister Rugiyya (also Ibrahim Solih’s cousin) is MDP MP for Vaavu Atoll.
- Rugiyya’s husband Thoyyib was State Minister for Information and Arts. Thoyyib grew up in President Nasheed’s aunt’s household, Dheeframaage.
- President Nasheed’s uncle by marriage (Eva Abdulla’s father) Deyliya’s second wife Maizan Khadeeja’s brother Maizan Adam Maniku was State Minister for Housing, Infrastructure and Transport.
- President Nasheed’s classmate and close friend Ali Shiyam is Economic Advisor to the President. Ali Shiyam is also the head of President Nasheed’s Witch Hunt Commission.
- Ali Shiyam’s brother Ahmed Hamza was President Nasheed’s nominee for Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
- Ali Shiyam’s brother Jihad was MDP candidate for Faafu Nilandhoo constituency.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya's sister Ashiya Ahmed Didi’s ex-husband Dr. Ahmed Shaheed was the first Foreign Minister.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya's sister, Haula Ahmed Didi, was Deputy Foreign Minister.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya's sister Rugiya Ahmed Didi was President Nasheed's private secretary.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya's sister Rugiyya’s ex-husband Umaru Jamaal was State Minister for Gaafu Dhaalu Province.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya's brother-in-law Ahmed Latheef (married to Fazeena Ahmed Didi) was the Maldivian High Commissioner in Beijing.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya's nephew (Latheef’s and Fazeena’s son) Mifzal Ahmed was President Nasheed’s Advisor on Investments.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya’s sister Fazeena’s brother-in-Law Hassan Latheef was the Minster of Youth & Sports.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya's sister-in-law Farahanaz Faisal was the Maldivian High Commissioner in UK.
- Farahanaz Faisal's brother Ameen Faisal was the Defence Minister as well as Acting Home Minister.
- Farahanaz Faisal’s sister Shuweykaar’s husband Ahmed Rasheed was the Chief of Protocol.
- MDP Chairperson Mariya's brother-in-law Falaah (ex husband Abdul Sattar Ali’s brother) was MDP candidate for Maafannu Dhekunu constituency, but lost that seat. He is now MDP elected member in the Male’ City Council.
- Mr. Falah’s cousin Ibrahim Naeem was the Auditor General.