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News in brief: Dhoonidhoo’s ‘Alcatraz’ demolished

The Greater Malé Industrial Zone Ltd is under audit.



A notorious cell block of the police custodial centre on Dhoonidhoo island known as Alcatraz was shut down on Tuesday, with Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Police Commissioner Mohamed Hameed taking up tools to start the demolition work.

The closure of several cell blocks was advised by a presidential commission that audited jails and recommended sweeping prison reforms. The ‘Alcatraz’ cells were alleged to have been used to torture detainees during former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30-year reign.

Both Gayoom and Sheikh Imran were among opposition leaders who were incarcerated in Dhoonidhoo during the previous administration.

State-owned company accused of corruption under audit

The Auditor General’s office has started auditing a state-owned enterprise that has been accused of corruption, a spokesman told the press on Tuesday.

The Greater Malé Industrial Zone Limited, mandated with developing the Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu industrial islands near the capital, is also facing parliamentary scrutiny concerning the removal of a cargo ship docked at Thilafushi and a contract awarded to build chemical storage warehouses.

Appearing at the state-owned enterprises oversight committee earlier this week, GMIZL board members accused Managing Director Ibrahim Rasheed of making major executive decisions without consulting the board.

Lawmakers oppose new phone allowance for magistrate judges

Members of parliament’s public accounts committee on Tuesday argued against authorising an MVR500 (US$32) phone allowance to magistrates of island courts.

The Judicial Service Commission proposed the allowance to normalise pay and benefits as superior court judges receive a phone allowance of MVR1,000. But most lawmakers on the oversight committee were inclined to deny the request and also discussed cutting phone allowances for all public officials, including ministers and members of independent institutions who are presently paid a phone allowance from the state budget.

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