Wednesday roundup: chief justice denies threatening top Supreme Court official
A roundup of the day’s top stories.
Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi has denied threatening to sack the Supreme Court’s secretary-general, a day after the judicial watchdog launched a probe over alleged ethical misconduct.
The chief justice is accused of ordering the Dr Hussain Faiz not to comply with new rules formulated by the Department of Judicial Administration after parliament amended the Judicial Service Commission Act to bring back the department under the watchdog. The DJA – which is tasked with managements of the courts – was previously under the direct control of the Supreme Court.
Contrary to allegations, Didi said he fully respects the legal changes approved by parliament, but contended that the revised law did not transfer authority over the Supreme Court’s internal administration to the DJA. He accused Dr Faiz of meeting Supreme Court staff and telling them that he was in charge, which has impeded the duty of the top court’s justices.
Didi said he advised the secretary-general and reminded him that action could be taken as with other staff. But there was no basis to consider the advice a warning or grounds for an ethics probe, the chief justice said.
Watchdog seeks to recover state funds
The Anti-Corruption Commission instructed various state agencies to recover more than MVR190 million (US$12 million) in 16 cases wrapped up during the first three quarters of 2019.
The state recovered MVR78 million during the third quarter, the ACC said on Wednesday.
The watchdog sent three cases to the Prosecutor General’s office by the end of September and sought charges against officials in cases involving MVR3.6 million. The PG office returned 12 cases this year and declined to prosecute six cases.
Commission to decide on pay hike for teachers
A revised salary structure for teachers has been shared with the Pay Commission to approve pay rises, Education Minister Dr Aishath Ali told parliament on Wednesday.
“I hope that all employees working in the field of education gets a pay hike,” she told lawmakers.
Teachers in the Maldives have to work long hours under extreme pressure, she added. “I cannot say that the salaries of teachers are fine or that their working environment is good,” she said.
Most teachers work up to 12 hours a day and prepare for the next day at home, she noted, which leaves little or no time for time for themselves. The education minister urged lawmakers to allocate extra funds in next year’s budget.
Port workers invited to resubmit applications for social housing
The state-owned Maldives Ports Limited has invited staff to apply for social housing in the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé.
Some 432 employees were promised flats last year under the previous administration’s Hiyaa social housing scheme but the new government cancelled the list of flat winners in October. Staff were told to submit fresh application before November 24.
The MPL is building three 14-storey towers in land reclaimed for phase two of the Hulhumalé urban development project. Out of the total 534 housing units, 432 are reserved for MPL’s staff.