The actions of a few police officers have made the public lose trust in the police department which it now needs to regain, incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom said Wednesday.
Speaking during the ceremony held to mark the 85th anniversary of the Maldives Police Service, president Yameen insisted that a few police officers were to blame for the public to lose trust in the entire institution.
The rest of the officers must not allow a few to undermine the trust and confidence the public has on the Maldives police, the president stressed.
"The Supreme court order of February 1 would not have come if there was no sign that it would be implemented. There have been a few such incidents in the past with the involvement of police. I'm saying this because of the love and respect I have for the police. There is no one else who would wish to protect and uphold public trust in the police more than the president. So that's why we need to talk about it and learn from it," he added.
The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
President Yameen had declared state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.
Several top police officers including the former police chief have been arrested in what has been now been described by the authorities as an attempt to overthrow the government.
President Yameen underscored that the Police Service should never come under any political influence, and advised all police officers to carry out their duties with dignity, confidence and steadfastness.
The most high-profile figures remanded until the end of the trial included former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed - all now formally charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.
In addition to the terrorism charge, according to a statement released by the Prosecutor General's (PG) office, the trio who remain in custody under the state of emergency have also been charged with obstruction of justice over their refusal to handover their mobile phones to the police.
The two top court judges along with now jailed chief judicial administrator Hassan Saeed are also facing bribery charges. Chief justice Saeed is facing a fourth charge of impeding the functioning of the state for allegedly blocking the receipt of three letters sent by president Yameen shortly after the top court ruling on February 1.
The chief judicial administrator is facing the same charge for refusing to come in for police questioning.
PG office further said police had discovered MVR 350,000 (Maldivian Rufiyaa Three Hundred and Thirty Thousand) and USD 3,300 (United States Dollars Three Thousand and Three Hundred) hidden underneath the mattress of the chief judicial administrator.
"The statement said the police uncovered inside bag found in his room among other documents a letter on Villa Shipping & Trading Company Pvt Ltds letterhead signed by the said Company's Managing Director, Ibrahim Siyad Gasim.
"The letter shows that funds amounting to USD2.4 million given by Villa Shipping & Trading Company Pvt Ltd to the main suspects of this case and relatives of those suspect towards purchasing properties from a foreign country."
The document proves that the beneficiaries of the payment were judge Hameed's son, Chief justice Saeed and the ex-wife of the chief judicial administrator, the statement said.
The statement also said the police had verified the signatory of the document to be Siyad Gasim - son of Jumhoory Party (JP) leader and Villa Group owner Gasim Ibrahim while his fingerprints were also found on the document.
Siyad Gasim has been remanded until the end of the trial charged with offering a bribe.
In addition, former police chief Ahmed Areef has also been charged and remanded until sentencing.
PG office said Areef had handpicked certain police officers in violation of normal procedure to enforce the Supreme Court order and also attempted to disrupt the peace of the country.
The PG office further said the Supreme Court order on February 1 was a premeditated plot to overthrow the government.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's uncle Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.