President Abdulla Yameen has divided his cabinet ministers into two sub groups – categorized as the Social Council and the Economic Council, the President’s Office has today revealed.
The Social Council is compiled of the Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, the Minister of Education Aishath Shiham, Minister of Environment Thoriq Ibrahim, and the Minister of Gender and Health Mariyam Shakeela.
According to council member Shaheem, it will be headed by Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.
While this still leaves eleven other cabinet members, the compilation of the Economic Council has not been announced yet.
President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali was not responding to calls at the time of press.
Recently reappointed Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad has joined President Abdulla Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), becoming the second cabinet member to join the party this week.
Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim – also reappointed to his position after Yameen’s recent inauguration – announced his decision to join the PPM yesterday, commenting on social media that he had opted to join what he viewed as the most democratic party in the country.
Jihad told local media that his decision had come after a request made by former President and Leader of the PPM Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
He also revealed that the finance minister position in the cabinet had been reserved for a PPM member. The PPM is currently the second largest political party in the Maldives, both in terms of party members and MPs.
“My decision was based on President Maumoon’s request. I have always been of PPM’s ideologies and philosophies,” Jihad told Sun Online.
Gayoom himself released a tweet yesterday thanking Jihad for his decision: “U will be a great asset to us”.
President Abdulla Yameen has been invited to visit Sri Lanka by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The letter of invitation was given to Yameen today when Sri Lankan High Commissioner Dickson Sarathchandra Dela paid a call to the President’s Office today.
“The High Commissioner also praised the smooth and peaceful manner in which the presidential election was held in the Maldives,” the President’s Office reported.
Meanwhile, local media today reported that Maldivian tourists visiting Sri Lanks had increased by 83 percent in the 12 months leading to October this year. Sun Online reported that 46,805 Maldivians had visited Sri Lanks in the first 10 months of 2013.
After discussing the increasing bilateral relations in the fields of health, education, and security at the President’s Office today, Sarathchandra expressed Sri Lanka’s eagerness to work with the new Government of Maldives.
Yameen’s first official visit as president will be to India on December 22.
Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim has today joined ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
“Given the fact that the PPM is the most democratic party in the Maldives, I have officially signed to PPM on this unique date 11/12/13,” tweeted Nazim today.
Nazim was the Defence Minister during the time of Former President Dr Mohamed Waheed and was recently re-appointed by Waheed’s successor, the PPM’s Abdulla Yameen.
He played a key role in the series of protests held after Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed was arrested. These protests led to the controversial transfer of power in February 2012 after which Nazim soon assumed his cabinet position.
Police have said that last Monday (9 December) a Chinese national living on the island of Dhuvaafaru in Raa Atoll was attacked by a group of people.
Police said two persons aged 18 and 22, along with a minor, were arrested in connection with the attack.
According to the police, the Chinese national was admitted to Dhuvaafaru Health Centre and has now been released after treatment.
Police said that three persons were arrested the same night at about 9pm.
The three suspects were taken to the Dhuvaafaru Magistrate Court, and their detention period has been extended to five days for investigation.
Dhuvaafaru police station is investigating the case, police added.
The parliamentary committee assigned with reviewing the penal code will present the finished draft to the full house on Monday, local media has reported.
After considering 30 late amendments suggested by the Attorney General’s Office late last month, the committee has added a clause mandating that the new code will come into force within six months of ratification, reported Sun Online.
The initial draft of the penal code was prepared by legal expert Professor Paul H Robinson and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, upon the request of the Attorney General in January 2006. The project was supported by the United Nations Development Program.
The bill was first sent to the Majlis (parliament) in 2006 and will replace the 1961 penal code.
The new code has provoked much debate, with the Adhaalath Party’s Sheikh Ilyas Hussain perceiving a lack of Islamic punishments in previous drafts.
President Abdulla Yameen has described the late Nelson Mandela as “the greatest statesman the world has seen”.
Writing in the book of condolences currently available for signature in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yameen praised the anti-apartheid leader who passed away last week at the age of 95.
“President Mandela was the greatest statesman the world has seen. His long walk to freedom; his achievement of the “Rainbow Nation”; his principles of courage, justice and equality are shining lights to millions around the world,” wrote Yameen.
“His patriotism and his passion for the protection of human dignity will stay with us for generations to come,” added the President.
The President’s Office has also reported that Vice Presidene Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has also signed the book, expressing his belief that Mandela’s legacy would improve the human rights of all, regardless of race or religion.
Yameen ordered the Maldives national flag to be flown at half-mast last weekend, offering condolences to the current South African President Jacob Zuma on behalf of the people of the Maldives.
The book is available for the public to sign from 9am to 12pm, and from 1pm to 3pm today and tomorrow (December 12).
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has proposed his nephew Maumoon Hameed for the post of Prosecutor General (PG).
Hameed is a lawyer by profession and is the son of former Atolls Minister Abdulla Hameed. Hameed has to win approval by a parliamentary majority before he can be appointed to the position.
Former PG Ahmed Muizz resigned from his position on November 25 shortly before parliament was set to debate a no-confidence motion against him.
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) filed the motion against Muiz on October 24, claiming that that he had failed to take action against the police and the military officers who mutinied against former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 2012.
Former Tourism Minister during the MDP government Mariyam Zulfa and current Deputy PG Hussain Shameem had also submitted applications for the vacancy.
The Judicial Services Commission has announced it will shuffle nine superior court judges in a bid to “strengthen the judiciary.”
The judicial oversight body said the reassignments would uphold public trust in the judiciary and were an opportunity for judges to build capacity and gain additional experience.
The nine reassignments include Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed who has now been transferred to the post of the Drug Court’s Chief Judge. Judge Abdulla’s military detention in January 2012 precipitated the ousting of former President Mohamed Nasheed. He has been accused of obstructing high profile corruption cases and has been investigated for ethical misconduct.
The Prosecutor General (PG) has charged Nasheed with unlawful arrest of a government employee over Abdulla’s arrest, but the case is currently stalled after Nasheed’s legal team challenged the legitimacy of the appointment of the judges-panel to Hulhumale Magistrates Court, where the trial is being heard.
Criminal Court judges Muhuthaz Fahmy and Abdul Bari Yusuf were reassigned to the Drug Court and Juvenile Court respectively.
Yusuf was suspended in February 2013 over allegations of misconduct and the JSC told local media that despite his reassignment, Yusuf remains suspended. However, if his suspension is lifted, he will start work at the Juvenile Court, the JSC added.
The Family Court’s Ibrahim Ali was changed to the Criminal Court.
Drug Court’s judges Zubair Mohamed and Mohamed Easafulhu were reassigned to the Criminal Court while Abdul Sattar Abdul Hameed was reassigned from the Drug Court to the Civil Court.
The Civil Court’s Ali Naseer was changed to the Family Court and the Family Court’s Hassan Shafeeu was reassigned to the Civil Court. The Juvenile Court’s Mohamed Naeem was changed to the Drug Court.
UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, issued a report in May 2013 expressing concern over the politicisation of the JSC and judiciary.