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President defends forming inquiry commissions

The public lacks confidence in police and the anti-corruption watchdog, he said.



The public’s lack of confidence in police and the anti-corruption watchdog required the formation of inquiry commissions to recover stolen assets and investigate unresolved murders, President Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed said Sunday.

Speaking at a campaign rally on Shaviyani Milandhoo island, Solih criticised parliament’s refusal to pass a bill proposed by the government to grant investigative powers to presidential commissions.

“If these institutions function properly, this isn’t something I would have to do,” he said, citing a loss of trust in the impartiality and integrity of institutions during the previous administration.

“But I was forced to do it because the Anti-Corruption Commission and other institutions formed by the constitution to investigate such matters were not functioning. However, the People’s Majlis has not cooperated with me.”

Stressing the importance of legislation to fulfil pledges, Solih reiterated his appeal for voters to choose Maldivian Democratic Party candidates in the April 6 parliamentary elections.

Last month, Speaker Gasim Ibrahim refused to call a vote on the presidential commissions bill after it was tabled in the agenda for the fourth time.

Three previous attempts to put the bill to a vote were thwarted by a lack of quorum due to the absence of several lawmakers from Gasim’s Jumhooree Party, one of four parties in the Maldivian Democratic Party-led coalition.

Gasim concurs with opposition lawmakers that granting legal powers to presidential commissions is “unconstitutional” as it would undermine the authority of existing law enforcement agencies and “duplicate” their powers.

Last week, Husnu Suood, chair of the commission investigating unresolved murders and the abduction of a journalist, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that the commission’s authority will be limited if parliament refuses to pass the bill and enable it to work independently of the police and judiciary.

The commission was mandated with conducting “a free, independent and trustworthy investigation” into cases between January 1, 2012 and November 17, 2018 that were “not properly investigated for various reasons.”

The murders of a lawmaker, liberal blogger and the abduction of a journalist were carried out by an extremist group, Suood revealed.