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Inquiry underway into quarrel between top police officers

Amid reports of reshuffles, dismissals and demotions of the highest-ranking police officers, an inquiry by a special committee at the president’s office is underway into a quarrel between Police Commissioner Ahmed Areef and Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Saudhy.



An inquiry by a special committee at the president’s office is underway into a quarrel between the country’s top two police officers, it has been widely reported.

Both the police and president’s office spokesmen refused to comment but sources have told several local media outlets that President Abdulla Yameen set up the committee about two weeks ago after a dispute between Police Commissioner Ahmed Areef and Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Saudhee spiralled out of hand.

The committee reportedly comprises of Aishath Azima Shukoor, legal affairs minister at the president’s office, Mohamed Mujthaz, minister of state for presidential affairs, Mohamed Zuhair, state minister for defence, and an under-secretary at the president’s office.

The alleged feud comes amidst reports of reshuffles, demotions and dismissals of the highest-ranking police officers.

The police spokesman told the Maldives Independent that leadership changes could not be disclosed.

According to local media, Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohamed Jamsheed has been removed from his position as head of the integrated services command and transferred as a projects officer to the police bureau in the southernmost atoll.

Assistant Commissioner Hussain Adam was previously demoted to chief superintendent.

On Monday, Assistant Commissioner Ahmed Fairoosh, who is on study leave in Australia, was sacked after an inquiry into allegations of “spreading information that created a bad image of police and government on social media.”

Fairoosh said on Twitter that he was questioned about a tweet in which he had asked whether ‘not halal‘ and ‘haram‘ (forbidden) were two different things. The tweet was an apparent reference to controversial remarks made by President Yameen about receiving stolen cash.

Fairoosh has since appealed his dismissal.

Local media meanwhile reported further changes at the top echelons of the Maldives Police Service. According to multiple outlets, several department heads were shuffled on October 29.

Chief Superintendent Abdulla Ahmed, the deputy head of the criminal investigation department, was transferred to the Police Cooperative Society as its deputy chief executive officer. He was replaced by Superintendent Mohamed Basheer. New head officers were also appointed to the information and communications directorate and the family and child protection department.

The legal counsel to the police commissioner was transferred to the northern operations command and replaced with a different civil officer.

In early September, Chief Superintendent Mohamed Riyaz, a top police detective, was reportedly sacked amidst inquiries by the internal disciplinary body involving several high-ranking officers.

The inquiries came after the police confiscated the phone of MP Abdulla Riyaz, a former police commissioner, and interrogated him about attempting to influence the police force.

The opposition Jumhooree Party’s deputy leader was put on trial in early April over his refusal to unlock his mobile phone. Riyaz voluntarily unlocked the iPhone at court and was later found not guilty of the obstruction charge.

The arrest of former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb in October 2015 had also led to a purge in the top ranks of the police and military.

Areef was appointed acting police chief after former Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed and two deputy commissioners were transferred to government ministries, a day before Adeeb’s arrest on suspicion of links to a blast on the president’s speedboat.

The heads of the police intelligence and criminal investigation departments were also changed during a major reshuffle.

Yameen at the time accused his former right-hand man of bribing the security forces with funds stolen from resort lease payments.