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Parliament approves MMPRC whistleblower as NIC member

Mariyam Malsa
19 October 2020, MVT 18:36
mmprc corruption whistleblower gaasim interview
Mariyam Malsa
19 October 2020, MVT 18:36

The parliament, on Monday, approved a total of four members for the National Integrity Commission (NIC), including the individual responsible for uncovering the MVR 1.3 billion corruption scandal of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC), Gasim Abdul Kareem.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had submitted the names of 17 nominees to the parliamentary Committee on Independent Institutions in August.

Following evaluation and approval, the parliamentary committee finalised a list of seven nominees, out of which the parliament granted approval to Aminath Shadiya, Aminath Shiuna and Shuaib Abdul Rahman.

Gasim was nominated for a seat on the commission after the initial submission of names. Therefore, his interview and evaluation were conducted separately.

All 51 parliamentarians attending the vote approved Gasim's appointment to the NIC.

The previous administration had sentenced Gasim, a former assistant manager at Bank of Maldives’ Nilandhoo Branch, Faafu Atoll, with an eight-month and 12-day prison sentence for unlawfully disclosing private information, on November 15, 2016. He was released after the completion of the sentence.

NIC slots were left vacant after a parliamentary report pushed for the dismissal of four commission members, citing failure to carry out their mandated duties.

Then-Vice President Hassaan Hameed and members Khadheeja Abdulla and Ahmed Ameen resigned from the NIC after the parliament endorsed the proposal in July, advising President Solih to dismiss them. The commission's president, Ahmed Sulaiman was sacked on August 10 by President Solih.

One of the key arguments for the dismissals was NIC's failure to investigate police negligence concerning the disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan, despite probable cause for suspicion.

Presently, only Colonel (Retired) Ahmed Jihad remains on the NIC. He was appointed in late 2019 by the incumbent administration.

NIC acts as a watchdog for four state institutions: Maldives Police Service, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Maldives Correctional Service, and Maldives Customs Service.

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