Supreme court justice Abdulla Didi has left the country in the middle of a Judicial Service Commission disciplinary probe and ongoing police investigations into bribery and corruption.
According to local media, Didi left for Malaysia, where his wife resides, on Friday evening.
JSC spokesman Hassan Zaheen confirmed that the commission had been informed that Didi had left the country.
“We were asked for permission. Naturally, we have to give it because we are not a criminal investigative authority. We look into disciplinary matters, so we cannot stop it,” Zaheen told the Maldives Independent.
Didi is suspected of regularly taking bribes, releasing criminal suspects in return for favours and seeking government job opportunities for members of his family, including his wife, Ghaniya Abdul Ghafoor, the former deputy ambassador to Malaysia who was dismissed from her job earlier this month.
Didi was given five days to respond to the charges by the JSC committee in a public hearing on June 20. On Thursday – the last day of the deadline – the JSC tweeted that they had received a written response from Didi, but did not say anything more.
Last week, the family of abducted Maldives Independent journalist Ahmed Rilwan asked the authorities to summon and question Didi about his decision to release two prime suspects in Rilwan’s abduction at knife point. Rilwan will have been missing five years this August.
Rilwan’s brother Moosa Rilwan expressed frustration after news of Didi’s departure broke on Friday evening. In a Tweet he said: “We submitted letters to
@PoliceMv and @DdcomMdv to investigate Abdullah Didi and Ahmed Adeeb for their involvement in Rilwan’s abduction case. Government allowed both of them to flee.”
Lawmaker Mickail Naseem tweeted: “It is hugely neglectful when a person who took bribes, convicted politicians unjustly and released suspects of big crimes is allowed to escape in the middle of an investigation,” tweeted lawmaker Mickail Naseem.
Meanwhile, former vice president Ahmed Adeeb is in Pune, India, to be treated for glaucoma. Although he was set to return to the Maldives on June 26, he had his furlough extended till July 5 for additional medical tests, fuelling fears that he may abscond.
The Times of India quoted Vardhmaan Kankariya, one of Adeeb’s surgeons, as saying that he had been advised to return for follow-up treatment in six months.