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PG Bisham denies allegations of undue influence

Shahudha Mohamed
24 July 2019, MVT 08:59
Prosecutor General (PG) Aishath Bisham during the parliamentary committee session. PHOTO: HASSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
24 July 2019, MVT 08:59

Prosecutor General (PG) Aishath Bisham on Tuesday insisted that all charges pressed against suspects withing her tenure were done so in line with the rules and regulations, free from outside influence.

The parliament's Judiciary Committee summoned PG Bisham to question her on actions committed by the Prosecutor General's Office during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's administration.

The committee questioned her on external influences in relation to the PG Office's shifting stances over political figures, noting that charges were retracted against certain persons following President Solih's election to office.

Bisham responded with the claim that former President Yameen never tried to influence her decisions, maintaining that all cases were prosecuted in accordance with the necessary procedures throughout the probe.

She offered assurances to the committee that if her stance on certain matters had changed, it was due to adequate reasons.

"I never asked any prosecutor to press a certain charge against a particular individual. Between us, we sometimes establish a team for special high-profile cases. We press charges after having investigated the issue and following proper discussions."

Kendhoo MP Hussain Ali specifically demanded reasons for the state pressing charges against 12 MPs for entering the parliament hall during the 18th parliament.

Bisham was asked whether she had formerly discussed on pressing charges against the MPs during a visit to the President's Office.

Claiming that charges were pressed against the members as Elections Commission (EC) had announced that three of the members were unseated at the time, Bisham stated that he charges were retracted when Supreme Court overruled EC's announcement and concluded that no MPs had lost their seats.

She added that she only visited the President's Office to partake in Drug Control Council meetings.

Moreover, Bisham said that she rejected several requests by investigators to issue court orders to arrest individuals in questionable cases.

PG Bisham answering questions posed by members of Parliament's Judiciary Committee. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU

Upon being questioned by a member on why Bisham prosecuted former MP and retired Brigadier General Ibrahim Didi on terrorism charges while former PG Muhthaz Muhsin had decided against it, Bisham explained that prominent cases were on hold without reason when she accepted her position as PG.

She admitted that some of these cases were forwarded to trial after she took office "because I don't believe that such cases can be dropped without any reason".

During the committee meeting, Bisham came under fire for dismissing a lawyer from PG office over a non-existent intelligence report.

Bisham responded saying that the case was appealed in Supreme Court and refused to share details about the case "openly, on live television".

Maasha's "hostage" situation

Members of Judiciary Committee grilled PG Bisham on her negligence over holding Aminath Maasha, former Dhagethi MP Ilham Ahmed's wife, "hostage", eventually resulting in Bisham conceding to launch an investigation into the matter.

Lawyer Hisaan Hussain raised the case of Maasha's arrest as an example of Bisham's failure to fulfill her duties as Prosecutor General.

Maasha was summoned to the police on February 11, 2018, and held in the building for a long period of time while the search to find her husband Ilham, was ongoing. Hisaan described this as a hostage situation.

The manhunt on Ilham was ordered to investigate his involvement in offering and accepting bribes regarding to plans to overthrow the then government, according to police.

Bisham revealed that she only received information about the case a few days later and PG office had questioned the police over their actions.

As per Bisham, police refused to answer any of her questions and she did not pursue the case any further.

In apparent disappointment over Bisham's answer, Hisaan expressed concern that the PG had been careless and negligent in her duties, reminding Bisham of her responsibilities.

Pointing out that the PG possessed the power to order an investigation into any questionable acts, Hisaan highlighted that a suspect's family members should not be targeted under any circumstances in order to force their hand.

Bisham denied all accusations put forward by the committee members suggesting that in her capacity as PG, she had come to neglect her duties and responsibilities.

Nevertheless, Bisham offered the following. "However, I will look into how this incident happened and take all necessary measures", she declared.

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