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'241 Committee' will not exert influence on Police: MP Hassan Latheef

Ahmed Aiham
02 July 2020, MVT 20:47
The bill entitled ‘Maldivian Police Service Bill’ was submitted by parliament representative for the Henveiru West constituency and Chairperson of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Hassan Latheef. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
02 July 2020, MVT 20:47

Parliament representative for Male' City's Henveiru-West constituency MP Hassan Latheef, on Wednesday, declared that the Parliamentary Committee on National Security Services was not attempting to exert influence on law enforcement.

The statement was made amid public concern raised over the recently submitted 'Maldivian Police Service Bill'.

During the session held by the parliament secretariat, to seek public opinion on the bill, the lawmaker addressed queries regarding parliamentary involvement in ongoing Maldives Police Service operations.

Stating that the committee can only obtain information on closed cases, he further alleged that seeking information to such an extent would not hinder ongoing investigations.

The bill was submitted by MP Hassan Latheef, with the purpose of granting increased powers to the parliamentary committee, dubbed the'241 Committee', in order to ensure that it can exercise its vested oversight authority over the police, as stipulated in the Maldives constitution.

On June 22, the Progressive Congress Coalition, which consists of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress, protested in defence of Maldives Police Service.

Led by PPM Council Member Ahmed Nareesh, protestors expressed concerns over the draft bill and called to remove such clauses that grant the committee various powers over police.

Voices were also raised by the public regarding the lack of recording devices to monitor the conduct of officers, as well as police refusals to disclose documents confirming their identity.

According to MP Hassan, the objective of the bill is to establish a system that is able to hold police accountable. He added that no systems are currently in place to take disciplinary action against the law enforcement agency.

"For example, despite the formulation of the Police Integrity Commission and its transition into the National Integrity Commission, not a single case has been forwarded for prosecution, till date", said the lawmaker.

Committee member and parliamentary representative for Hulhumale' constituency Ali Niyaz, stated that the bill's aim is to create a trustable system for police.

Further, he noted that the bill would aid to facilitate a system to operate the agency in a decentralized manner, further noting that the bill will establish an improved welfare system for officers.

The legislature is currently under debate by the 241 committee. Recently, Attorney General's Office (AGO) also gave counsel to the committee on parliament's draft of the new Police Bill.

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