President sacks commissioner general of customs

President sacks commissioner general of customs
November 17 16:22 2015

President Abdulla Yameen today sacked Commissioner General of Customs Abbas Adil Riza and appointed Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) CEO Mohamed Junaid to the post.

Ibrahim Muaz Ali, the president’s office spokesperson, announced Riza’s dismissal on Twitter this morning, but did not state any reasons.

He has since been appointed to the post of additional secretary at the foreign ministry.

Riza was put in charge of customs in March this year after then-Commissioner General Ahmed Zuhoor was appointed to the cabinet.

Riza previously served as spokesperson of former President Dr Mohamed Waheed as well as state minister for finance. In November 2012, he sparked a diplomatic row after he called the previous Indian high commissioner “a traitor and enemy of the Maldives.”

Junaid was previously the MPL’s chairman. He was appointed MPL CEO in early October after former CEO Mahdy Imad was demoted.

Both the ports and customs authorities are under fire over the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC) illegal import of fireworks.

The government’s tourism promotion office is at the centre of the investigation into the September 28 blast on the president’s speedboat, which the government says was caused by a bomb.

In a public address after the arrest of his deputy on suspicion of plotting the alleged assassination attempt, President Yameen said the MMPRC’s fireworks shipment was rushed through customs and suggested that gunpowder from the fireworks could have been used to make a bomb.

Yameen said then-Defence Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel was sacked for authorising the fireworks import. Several senior government officials, as well as the police chief and two deputy police commissioners, have been sacked or transferred amidst the boat blast probe.