Abdulla Didi resumed work at the Supreme Court on Sunday in apparent defiance of the Judicial Service Commission, which suspended him on Wednesday.
The judicial watchdog, which investigates complaints against the judiciary, made the historic decision to suspend Didi because he stands accused of taking a US$1 million bribe in 2015 to sentence former President Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in jail.
The drama continued on Thursday when the Supreme Court ordered a stay following an appeal by Didi. However the 10-member JSC voted to disregard the top court’s ruling late the same day.
The bribery allegation against Didi was submitted to the JSC by Nasheed, who is a member of the commission by virtue of his being parliamentary speaker.
Meanwhile, the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives and People’s National Congress (PNC) coalition has described the judicial watchdog’s move to ignore the Supreme Court’s order as an attempt to “destroy the judicial system” by Nasheed, who is motivated by revenge.
“The Judicial Service Commission’s statement following the commission’s meeting on Thursday challenging the Supreme Court order is unconstitutional. The commission’s move to disregard the court order in the name of reform will destroy the Maldivian judicial system,” a statement by the PNC said.
“Even with the supermajority the government enjoys in parliament we note that decisions are based on jealousy and revenge.”
According to media reports, the alleged US$1 million bribe paid to Didi was deposited in his wife’s US dollar bank account in Malaysia. Ghaniya Abdul Ghafoor is the Maldivian deputy ambassador to Malaysia.
While Didi categorically denied any personal wrongdoing, he did not deny that the money was deposited in his wife’s bank account.
“I deny these false accusations in the newspapers, and assure [you] that there is no undeserved money in bank accounts belonging to me or people related to me,” he said.
Before his promotion to the top court, Didi was chief judge of the High Court, an appointment he took up in February 2016.