Acting Police Commissioner Ahmed Areef has shuffled senior officers in charge of various police departments in a shakeup of the top leadership posts.
Areef was appointed acting police chief after former Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed and two deputy commissioners were transferred to government ministries, a day before Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s arrest on suspicion of links to a blast on the president’s speedboat.
President Abdulla Yameen said in a public address on Sunday that his deputy was obstructing the investigation into the alleged assassination attempt by exerting undue influence over the police force. Yameen acknowledged that the removal of the police chief and his deputies was prompted by “the extent of the vice president’s influence”.
According to the police, yesterday’s changes are part of “efforts underway to improve the quality of the police’s services to the public and to increase the public’s trust and confidence”.
The changes involved the transfer of several heads of police departments, commands, and directorates.
The former head of the drug enforcement department (DED), Superintendent Ahmed Shifan, was put in charge of the strategy and legal department.
Superintendent Moosa Ali replaced Shifan as the new head of the DED.
Shifan was also the spokesperson of the police commissioner. He has been replaced by Assistant Commissioner Abdulla Nawaz.
Other changes include the appointment of Superintendent Hussain Rasheed as the new head of the general investigation department. He was previously the head of the strategy and legal department.
Assistant Commissioner Abdul Mannan Yousuf was appointed the head of the commissioner’s bureau. Assistant Commissioners Farhad Fikury and Ali Shujau were put in charge of the information and communication technology directorate and the divisional operations command, respectively.
In his first public address since the explosion on the speedboat, President Yameen had said that he was “surprised” by the extent of the vice president’s “power and influence” over the police.
Adeeb had gained the influence by using funds siphoned from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Yameen said. The vice president had provided “various official and unofficial resources the police needed, outside of the government’s budget.”
The president revealed that official “request letters” with the police letterhead were found in the home of Abdulla Ziyath, a close associate of the vice president and the MMPRC’s managing director.
Ziyath was arrested on Friday night. He is accused of corruption in leasing islands for resort development.
Asked why the vice president was allowed to exert such influence over the police, Yameen blamed senior officers in the police leadership for “giving the opportunity for it”.
“It didn’t happen with the president’s knowledge,” he said, adding that he did not “condone or tolerate it”.
Yameen also said he had not been provided police intelligence information since July. A newly-appointed head of intelligence stopped reporting to the president, but Adeeb was “officially and unofficially gathering intelligence information.”
The former head of the police intelligence directorate, Assistant Commissioner Mohamed Jamsheed, was removed earlier this month. He was replaced by Areef, who had headed the directorate prior to June.
Yameen meanwhile said that he had met senior police officers after the blast and told them he “did not believe that such an incident could have happened without the knowledge of the police intelligence directorate.”
“Even now, I do not believe this could have happened without their knowledge, that this could have escaped them.”