President Abdulla Yameen has nominated four members to the newly established National Integrity Commission (NIC) for parliamentary approval.
The new oversight body was formed on October 6 to replace the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) and the Customs Integrity Commission (CIC) under a law passed by the parliament in late August.
The four nominees are Yousuf Maaniu Mohamed, former head of the CIC, Mohamed Farhad, former vice president of the PIC, Hassaan Hameed, and Khadheeja Abdulla.
The parliament’s independent institutions committee began the evaluation process today and summoned the four nominees for interviewing this afternoon.
President Yameen had withdrawn the name of a fifth nominee, Mariyam Zeeniya, last week. The president’s office did not offer any reasons for the withdrawal.
The PIC and CIC were meanwhile dissolved last week and its staff were transferred to the NIC.
The NIC was formed with greater powers and a wider mandate than the PIC and CIC. The police watchdog was set up in 2009 to investigate complaints of police misconduct, but was not authorised to take punitive measures.
The new oversight body for the law enforcement agencies – including the police, the Maldives Customs Service, the Maldives Correctional Services and the immigration department – will investigate alleged violations of laws and regulations by employees, take administrative action, and forward cases for a police investigation to pursue criminal prosecution.
The commission can also recommend changes to regulations and procedures and assess the effectiveness of the law enforcement agencies.
The new commission will also take over pending cases. It will have the authority to litigate, form task forces, seek expert assistance from other state institutions, and summon witnesses.
In July, former Assistant Attorney General Ismail Wisham told The Maldives Independent that NIC will “cure the current toothlessness of the integrity commissions”. He noted that the home ministry had not complied with any recommendations made by the PIC.
According to the PIC’s annual report for 2014, the commission investigated 141 complaints.
The CIC was established in January 2014. The commission investigated just one complaint in 2014, according to an annual report.
In a recommendation to reduce expenditure in December 2012, the parliament’s public accounts committee had advised merging the PIC and CIC to form a new commission with oversight over all state institutions.
Both the PIC and CIC had five members while the NIC will be comprised of five members.
The NIC law states that the five members must have experience or educational qualifications in five areas: legal affairs, governance or public administration, commerce or business administration, human resources, and the economy.
Commission members must also have a first degree and seven years of work experience and must not have parents, wife, husband, or children serving in a law enforcement agency.
The members will be appointed for five-year terms.