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Legal changes proposed to reform independent bodies

The changes seek to improve oversight mechanisms.



The Attorney General’s office has proposed a raft of bills to reform and strengthen independent institutions.

Legislation has been submitted to parliament to amend laws governing the Anti-Corruption Commission, Human Rights Commission, Elections Commission, Civil Service Commission and the Auditor General’s office, the AG office said in a statement Sunday.

The legal changes would more clearly specify responsibilities and improve oversight mechanisms to hold officials accountable, it added. Other provisions specify ethical standards and allow members to be removed for breaches.

Staff at independent commissions and offices could also be penalised based on the severity of the violation.

Commission members would be required to submit financial statements to the AG office with details of income, assets and debts. The disclosure must include assets and incomes of immediate family members. 

Commissioners would also be prohibited from keeping a second job or engaging in any other activity to earn an income.

The amendments include provisions on circumstances where members could face a conflict of interest in carrying out their official duties, the AG office noted.

The current administration also plans to change the composition of the Judicial Service Commission, a 10-member oversight body for the judiciary.

Pursuing judicial reform was a pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and a key component of his Maldivian Democratic Party’s successful campaign for the April 6 parliamentary elections.