Parliament approves bill granting authority to pres commissions

The parliament on Wednesday approved the bill granting sweeping powers to two presidential commissions.

The bill presented by Alifushi MP Mohamed Rasheed Hussain sought to empower the presidential commission investigating murders and enforced disappearances, and the commission on state assets recovery.

The bill was approved with 67 votes in its favor, while one member remained neutral.

The bill on empowering the presidential commissions was fist presented during the 18th parliament. Several opposition members and some members of the ruling coalition had expressed their concern on the bill, stating that the bill contained several factors that contradicts the constitution. The bill was then amended, with several proposed powers removed from the bill.

However the bill still remained unapproved over several attempts, mostly due to loss of quorum on the parliament floor.

After the 19th parliament commenced, the bill was again revised by the relevant parliament commission, with several powers previously removed from the bill added back.

As per the amendments, the commission now has the authorities given under the Criminal Procedures Act to summon and record statements of persons of interest and the authority to ask for search and arrest warrants. Evidence and statements collected by the commission will still be admissible in court even in the event the commission is dissolved in the future.