Judicial watchdog records statements of three top court justices

Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has taken statements of Chief Justice Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi and Supreme Court Justices Adam Mohamed Abdulla and Justice Abdulla Areef.

JSC is investigating two complaints involving the three justices. Director of JSC Hassan Zaheen informed AVAS that the three justices have been questioned and their statements have been recorded by JSC.

JSC did not disclose further information regarding the complaints.

However, AVAS has found that one of the complaints is regarding the Supreme Court taking over a case filed at the Civil Court over former Deputy Managing Director of Public Service Media (PSM) Mohamed Ikram Abdul Latheef's failure to pay a decreed debt. While the case was taken over during December 2014, the Supreme Court has received criticism for taking over some cases already ongoing in lower courts. Main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) intends to amend laws to prevent the Supreme Court from taking over cases in this manner.

At the time, the Supreme Court had stated that the case was taken over under supervisory jurisdiction after a case was filed at the court by Ikram. However, it is unclear how the case proceeded from then on.

While the complaint is being investigated by the JSC, Ikram's wife Latheefa Gasim was a member of the commission up until recently. However, she lost her position on the commission due to the Bar Council law coming into effect. Latheefa was a member of JSC as a representative of lawyers.

The second case involving the judges that is being investigated by JSC pertains to the controversial court order issued by the Supreme Court on February 1, 2018, which ordered the release of political prisoners and the reinstatement of opposition lawmakers. A large part of the order issued with the agreement of five Supreme Court justices was overturned by the three judges in question.

Then Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and former Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed were convicted and sentenced for accepting bribes to issue the order. However, no charges were raised against the three remaining judges.

A seven member investigative committee has been established to look into the cases, which include Vice President of the commission and the President's member to the commission Masthooru Husnee and Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath in addition to Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain.

One of the judges being investigated, Judge Abdulla Areef is the president of JSC.

JSC earlier investigated Supreme Court judge Abdulla Didi in an open sitting, after which the investigating committee proposed to dismiss Didi.