The Maldives and India on Tuesday exchanged a treaty on providing mutual legal assistance on criminal matters, establishing a broad legal framework for cooperation in investigation and prosecution of transnational crime.
The first pact of its kind signed by the Maldives, the treaty paves the way for mutual support in “tracing, restraints forfeiture or confiscation of funds meant for financing of terrorism as also the proceeds and instruments of crime,” according to the Maldives president’s office.
It was signed by Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Indian Ambassador Sunjay Sudhir on the sidelines of the Indian Ocean Conference at the Paradise Island Resort near the capital.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih submitted the treaty for parliamentary approval in February. It was endorsed in July with 65 votes in favour and 11 against as Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party controls nearly a three-quarters majority in the 85-member house.
“The scope of the treaty covers the facilitation of the widest measures of mutual assistance in the service of summons, execution of warrants and other judicial documents and commissions, in accordance with the treaty and subject to the domestic laws of participating States,” the president’s office explained at the time.
“The treaty will facilitate the fight against criminal activity, especially crime related to terrorism. It will also aid in the investigation of such matters, obtaining evidence, and broaden the opportunity to interrogate those in question.
The central authority designated for transmitting and receiving requests was the Prosecutor General’s office. PG Aishath Bisham was present at Tuesday’s signing ceremony along with visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subramanyam Jaishankar.
Apart from India, the Maldives is also in discussions with Sri Lanka, UAE and Russia in pursuing similar treaties, the president’s office said.