Vice President Ahmed Adeeb has been stripped of the title as co-chair of the powerful economic and youth council, days after the tourism portfolio was taken off his hands.
MP Ahmed Faris Maumoon, nephew of President Abdulla Yameen, broke the news on Twitter last night.
Adeeb is in China on official business. He appears to be under fire over an explosion on Yameen’s speedboat on September 28. The government says the blast was an assassination attempt.
President’s spokesman Ibrahim Muaz Ali was not responding to calls, but said on Twitter that the co-chair of the cabinet’s economic and youth council is not an official post.
The economic and youth council and social council are subgroups within the cabinet. The former makes economic policies and approves business proposals, while the latter deals with health and education.
In another tweet, Muaz said that it is President Yameen who chairs both councils. The co-chair takes over only in the president’s absence, he said. Government officials refer to Adeeb as the co-chair of the economic and youth council.
Speculation that Yameen suspects his deputy’s involvement in the blast came following police raids on the homes of his close associates and the administrative detention of his former military bodyguard.
The police chief Hussein Waheed and the majority leader of parliament, MP Ahmed Nihan, who are both seen as Adeeb’s allies, abruptly departed the Maldives last night, in a sign that the power struggle between Adeeb and Yameen is intensifying.
Last week, the police raided the home of an influential businessman related to Adeeb. The court warrant authorising the raid on the home of Hamid Ismail was issued in connection to the blast on the “Finifenma” speedboat.
It authorised the seizure of CCTV camera footage and stated that police intelligence have learned of efforts to erase the footage and “destroy other evidence”.
The police also raided the apartment of Abdulla Ziyath, the managing director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporations (MMPRC) last week and searched the MMPRC office on Friday night.
Ziyath has been summoned to the police three times this week for questioning.
Adeeb has meanwhile vowed to return to the Maldives after an ongoing official visit to China, saying the “truth will be known” once a special inquiry commission completes its investigation. The date of his return is not clear.
Several senior government officials seen as loyal to the vice president have also been dismissed.