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Serious allegations against appalete judge during probe

Raif Amyl Jalyl
20 June 2019, MVT 23:47
Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Didi (R). PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Raif Amyl Jalyl
20 June 2019, MVT 23:47

Judicial Service Commission (JSC) concluded the public hearing of Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Didi, at the Dharubaaruge convention centre, on Thursday.

The proceeding marks the first instance of a public hearing regarding a Supreme Court judge. All previous hearings regarding judges were conducted in secrecy and JSC's findings were not announced.

The hearing was made public in compliance with Judge Didi's request.

Judge Didi's legal defence team includes former Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and former JSC member Ahmed Saleem.

Investigation Commission was chaired by JSC presidential representative Masthoor Husnee, Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath, Judge Mohamed Eesa and parliamentary representative Hisaan Hussain.

Masthoor commenced the proceedings at 1013 hours, marking the second hearing against Judge Didi.

It was revealed that Maldives Police Service was investigating Judge Didi for allegedly taking undue advantage of his post and accepting money from those implicated in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) graft scandal.

Police informed JSC of its investigation into the matter on June 12. Therefore, Thursday's public hearing was to ascertain whether disciplinary issues existed.

Moreover, Police further revealed that evidence was obtained against the judge, during its investigation into the MMPRC graft.

A Police letter summating the ongoing investigation was read by Hisaan.

However, certain sensitive details of its probe were ommitted during the reading.

According to the letter, Police unearthed several instances where Judge Didi took undue advantages and accepted money through an individual charged over the MMPRC scandal referred to as 'Suspect One'.

Police affirmed that testimonials and cellular text messages on Suspect One's phone established Judge Didi's involvement.

Forensic evidence on Suspect One's mobile phone detailed that Judge Didi made requests for funds to travel abroad.

It further revealed that the apex court judge communicated with a criminal in order to secure the release of a suspect detained in relation to the enforced disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

Judge Didi had released the suspect in question.

The phone logs also exposed communications where Judge Didi requested Suspect One to aid in securing employment for his wife Ghaniya Abdul Ghafoor at the Malaysian Embassy.

The messages revealed that Judge Didi had further corresponded a name to Suspect One's phone, to appoint as a member of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Police stated that forensic analysis of Suspect One's phones and digital devices were still underway. No further detail was divulged.

In response, Judge Didi's defence legal council Dr Jameel stated that the proceedings were conducted unconstitutionally and in violation of the Judicature Act. He stated that the legal team did not receive adequate time and necessary documents needed to respond to the serious allegations.

The defence further attempted to dispute JSC's suspension of Judge Didi, upon which the Investigative Commission reminded that the hearing was not about the suspension.

Judge Didi said that Police gave him a letter on June 10, stating that he was not under any investigation, and inquired whether a criminal investigation began afterwards.

Investigative Commission repeatedly inquired as to whether the apex court judge had served during the years 2013- 2016.

Ultimately, Judge Didi answered the queries, stating that he had served since 1994.

Further, he said that he required additional time to respond to the accusations. In addition to denying taking advantage of his post, he did not recollect having knowledge of the messages.

The public hearing came to a close with the commission acquiescing to Didi's defence team's requests for additional time. JSC granted Judge Didi's a period of five days to submit answers in writing.

The Investigative Commission stated that they will hold more hearings on the matter if needed.

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