'Dismissal motion contradicts the spirit of the constitution' : PG Bisham

Prosecutor General (PG) Aishath Bisham has stated that the Parliament's Judiciary Committee is pursuing her dismissal against the spirit of the constitution.

The Judiciary Committee made the decision to pursue Bisham's dismissal and announced the decision to the parliament floor after which Speaker Mohamed Nasheed permitted the committee to go ahead with the procedures.

PG Bisham has been given an opportunity to respond to the allegations against her. She has been instructed to present herself at the Judiciary Committee on Thursday to respond to the allegations.

A statement released by Bisham on Thursday said the reasons why the Judiciary Committee is pursuing her dismissal does not match with the reasons the Speaker announced to the Parliament floor. The letter sent by the parliament to asking her to 'respond' does not specify what she should be responding to, said Bisham.

Bisham said the purpose of allowing a certain period to prepare a response that can be given in the presence of a lawyer is to let the accused clearly know the details of the allegations against the person. Article 43 of the constitution ensures the right to fair administrative action, and mandates that it is lawful, procedurally fair and expeditious, she noted.

PG Bisham also noted that the 7th chapter of the constitution on independent commission state those in independent positions may be removed from office only after putting the issues on agenda separately. While the position of the Prosecutor General is an independent position, her dismissal was put on the agenda under 'Other' category by the Judiciary Committee. However, a matter of such calibre cannot be classified that way, she noted.

Therefore, she believes the Judiciary Committee's move to dismiss her to be insincere, and that it contradicts the spirit of the constitution, said Bisham.

This is the second time the Judiciary Committee has approved to remove Bisham from her post during the 19th Parliament.

Bisham's removal was first proposed by the Vice Chair of the Judiciary committee and Fonadhoo MP Moosa Siraj. Although the Judiciary Committee initially approved to proceed with the PG's dismissal, the decision was later dismissed as 'it contradicted the principles' of main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Bisham's dismissal was proposed a second time by Mathiveri MP Hassan Zareer during the Judiciary Committee meeting held Tuesday. The proposition was accepted by the committee, and the decision was informed to the Parliament Secretariat to be announced to the Parliament floor.

Speaker Mohamed Nasheed said the members of the parliament do not believe adequate action was taken by the Prosecutor General to address the deaths, corruption and terror crimes that occurred within the last year. Therefore, Nasheed made the decision to forward the matter of Bisham's removal to the Judiciary Committee for review.

According to the Prosecutor General's Act, the PG may be removed from office on the grounds of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence. Nasheed said the Prosecutor General's failure to take action on serious criminal matters shows her incompetence.

MDP has previously stated that the party would pursue Bisham's dismissal if the party attained parliament majority. While the main ruling party holds super majority of the parliament, criticism has been directed at the party over delays in removing the PG from her post. Some members have accused Nasheed of preventing Bisham's removal.

Bisham was appointed as the Prosecutor General by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom. Bisham was highly criticized by the opposition during the former administration over raising criminal charges against opposition leaders at the time.