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New members appointed to anti-corruption watchdog

Two women were chosen as president and vice president for the first time.



President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Monday appointed new members to the Anti-Corruption Commission after the five-year term of former members expired.

The nominees approved by parliament for the five-member commission were Ibrahim Shakeel, Fathmath Anoola, Mariyam Shiuna, Aishath Abdulla and Ali Ashraf.

Shakeel, a former central bank official, was appointed last month after the resignation of former ACC president Hassan Luthfee. The other four were appointed on Monday during a ceremony at the president’s office. Oaths of office were administered by Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla.

At their first meeting, the new members voted to elect Shiuna as president and Anoola as vice president, marking the first time that two women were chosen to lead an independent commission.

Shiuna was previously executive director of the local branch of Transparency International and Anoola served on the presidential commission on corruption and asset recovery. Aishath Abdulla was an audit executive at the finance ministry and Ali Ashraf held various managerial positions at Villa College.

Shiuna is pursuing a PhD in international development and Ashraf is enrolled in a Masters of Business Administration programme at the University of Western England.

In July, the evaluation of candidates by parliament’s independent institutions oversight committee came in for criticism after former auditor general Niyaz Ibrahim – who was contentiously sacked after exposing corruption during the previous administration – scored below the 75 percent threshold for recommendation.

Niyaz was among 12 candidates shortlisted by the president’s office and nominated for parliamentary approval after 68 people submitted applications. Both Niyaz and the second highest ranked candidate were passed over when the nominees were put to a vote in the order of the marks assigned by the committee.

The practice of assigning marks based on experience, qualifications and integrity – which was criticised as arbitrary and subject to manipulation – has since been scrapped. Under new rules adopted in late August, a panel comprised of parliament’s staff would determine whether nominees meet eligibility criteria and the oversight committee would only interview approved candidates.