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Bill impedes Police and ACC's authority: Filza

07 December 2018, MVT 17:31
Parliament's Counsellor General Fathimath Filza (L) meets President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (R). PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
07 December 2018, MVT 17:31

The Parliament’s Counsellor General Fathmath Filza made a statement on Monday, declaring that the bill proposed by the government, seeking to grant legal powers to the newly-formed presidential commissions on unsolved murders and asset recovery, impedes upon the authority held by both the Maldives Police Service and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The bill, proposed by Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Parliament Member Mohamed Rasheed, seeks to provide authority to the two inquiry commissions created by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for the fulfilment of key electoral pledges concerning the recovery of missing state funds, as well as the true circumstances surrounding two high-profile murders and the abduction of one journalist.

Once the bill was accepted by the Parliament, it was sent for inspection to the Committee on Independent Institutions.

Reportedly, Filza wrote to the Speaker of the Parliament Gasim Ibrahim, informing him that the proposed regulations indicated an excess of authority being granted to the two inquiry commissions.

According to Filza, if the commissions are allowed to become investigative agencies that inquire into unsolved murders and recuperation of stolen assets, it will henceforth affect the existing authority of the Police and ACC and their respective investigations.

Further, the letter states her belief that, as the constitution dictates such matters fall under the jurisdiction of Police and ACC, it is hence unjust to place the inquiry commissions in a higher position of authority.

Noting that the commissions will have the power to send the issue to the Prosecutor General’s office, obtain search warrants, call upon suspects and freeze bank accounts as well, Filza highlighted that the bill increases the authority given to the two commissions, compared to the initial proposal put forward by President Solih.

She said that the bill indicates a lack of authority on the part of the President himself, to annul or bring changes to the commissions’ regulation, once it has been implemented. Thus, Filza concludes, it will also impede upon the constitutional powers granted to the President.

President Solih, however, had already appointed members to the two inquiry commissions before the bill made its way to the Parliament.

Finally, Filza also highlighted that while the bill proposes granting the two enquiry commissions widespread authority, no details are provided concerning the methods for conducting their actions and procedures.

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