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Sofwan and Zaina to be dismissed from Broadcom

Shahudha Mohamed
20 June 2019, MVT 21:58
Maldives Broadcasting Commission's former Vice President Ismail Sofwan and current Vice President Fathimath Zaina. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
20 June 2019, MVT 21:58

A motion was submitted to the parliamentary Committee on Independent Institutions, on Wednesday, to dismiss Maldives Broadcasting Commission (Broadcom)'s former Vice President Ismail Sofwan and current Vice President Fathimath Zaina from their positions.

The motion was put forward by the Independent Institution Committee's Deputy Chair Meekail Naseem, after members of Broadcom were summoned to the parliament committee for questioning.

While Zaina attended the session, Sofwan was absent.

A decision is yet to be reached on the motion.

Broadcom's President Mohamed Shaheeb revealed that Sofwan has been absent from office for eight months, and that the commission has no knowledge of his current whereabouts.

When asked why Broadcom still paid Sofwan's salary, Shaheeb stated that Sofwan's attendance issue was filed at the President's Office and the parliament last November.

Since any member of the commission can be removed from their position by the parliament's authority, salary was still being deposited as the parliament had yet to reach a decision on the matter, Shaheeb said.

Additionally, Shaheeb also recounted the incident where Sofwan held him "hostage" on September 17, 2018, and tried to force him to resign from his position.

The Broadcom president expressed concern over the lack of measures taken by the authorities regarding Sofwan's act of terrorism, stating that no action was taken in addition to Maldives Police Service collecting his statements.

Shaheeb also accused Sofwan of influencing members of the Broadcasting Commission and disclosed that Sofwan told him of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's request to shut down Raajje TV during the state of emergency issued in February 2018.

At this time, Broadcasting Commission submitted an official letter to the Ministry of Defence seeking to halt Raajje TV's operations. The letter was signed by Sofwan, who was an activist of the then-ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Members of the parliamentary committee further questioned Zaina of her involvement in events organised by PPM. Zaina responded that she was not registered at any political party and took part in PPM's symposium because she was offered a chance to host the event.

She stated that she took part in another PPM rally as it was held for senior citizens.

MP's further questioned each Broadcom member separately whether they fell under political influence at any time. Members denied facing political influence but stated that MP's of the 18th parliament called to made certain demands which the commission's members refused to fulfill.

Shaheeb admitted in the meeting that Broadcom unjustly fined Raajje TV and other broadcasting companies by hefty amounts under the Defamation Act and expressed sadness that some members of the commission submitted and conducted investigations targeting certain medias.

Parliamentary Committee on Independent Institutions declared that trust was lost in Broadcom's members.

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