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Watchdog investigates criminal court chief judge

Probes are ongoing into complaints against several top judges.



The Judicial Service Commission on Wednesday decided to investigate a complaint against Criminal Court Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam.

The case was sent to the disciplinary committee, the watchdog said in a press brief, declining to disclose any details.

Judge Hailam was appointed to the criminal court in January last year. He is currently presiding over the money laundering trial of former president Abdulla Yameen.

All 10 members of the JSC were present at Wednesday’s meeting after Abdul Maaniu Hussain – who was recently elected to represent lawyers on the oversight body – took his oath of office earlier in the day.

The JSC also forwarded a new complaint against Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Didi to a committee investigating other complaints against him. Earlier this month, the committee recommended his dismissal from the apex court bench. Didi is accused of regularly taking bribes, releasing suspects in return for favours and seeking government job opportunities for members of his family.

The commission also accepted a complaint against Luayyu Ibrahim from the Gaaf Alif Dhaandhoo magistrate court. Five complaints against the magistrate are now under investigation.

A three-member committee was meanwhile formed to probe four complaints against Mohamed Mausoom, chief magistrate of the Haa Dhaalu judicial district.

On Monday, the JSC suspended Hassan Didi from the Gaaf Alif Kanduhulhudhoo magistrate court pending the outcome of a probe.

The JSC also announced last week that subcommittees have been formed to investigate complaints against Abdulla Ali, chief judge of the civil court, Ahmed Shareef, chief magistrate of the Laamu Dhabidhoo island court, and Hassan Ali, a High Court judge. Family Court Chief Judge Hassan Saeed and Mohamed Raqib, chief magistrate of Kaafu atoll, are also under investigation.

The formerly inactive watchdog – which was accused of acting as a lobby group in defence of the judiciary – started probing complaints against top judges after an overhaul of its membership in the wake of presidential and parliamentary elections.

The 10-member commission, tasked with investigating complaints and taking disciplinary action, is comprised of representatives from the executive, legislature and judiciary.

Judicial reform was a key pledge of both President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his Maldivian Democratic Party’s campaign for April’s parliamentary elections. With its landslide victory, the MDP secured well above the two-thirds majority needed to remove judges from the bench.

In late June, parliament dismissed a magistrate for the first time following a recommendation by the JSC.

Photo of Judge Hailam by