Corruption Crime Legal Politics

Leaked statement undercuts integrity of anti-corruption chief

Anti-Corruption Commission president Hassan Luthfy is facing calls for resignation after a police statement leaked online Thursday night raised questions over his integrity and independence.

Luthfy told police investigators he had warned Justice Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator “not to do anything against the government” when he heard rumours of a coup plot by the Supreme Court.

“And I told them they should know who President [Abdulla] Yameen is,” he added, according to the six-page statement.

Several other statements from the investigation that followed a Supreme Court order on February 1 for the release of Yameen’s opponents were leaked last week, prompting threats of police action.

The police spokesman declined to comment whilst Luthfy was not responding to calls.

In the statement, Luthfy backed allegations that judicial administrator Hassan Saeed, Justice Hameed and the chief justice were planning to buy luxury apartments in Malaysia.

Saeed refused to say who was paying. But Luthfy later learned from a friend that it was Jumhoree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim, he claimed.

Luthfy was concerned he would be suspected of involvement because he frequently met with the judicial administrator in public. But Hassan Saeed made no mention of the February 1 order, he said.

Hameed also called Luthfy on the morning of February 1 and praised the development projects of “the government we brought about”.

When the ruling came out, Luthfy said he was unable to reach Hameed or Hassan Saeed. He wanted to say they “shouldn’t be that munāfiq (hypocritical)”.

President Yameen contends the ruling – which reinstated an opposition parliament majority and freed nine prisoners ahead of elections in September – set in motion a failed coup d’etat.

A state of emergency was declared and constitutional rights suspended before the security forces stormed the Supreme Court and arrested the two top judges and the chief judicial administrator.

Several others, including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the former police chief and four lawmakers, are standing trial on terrorism charges over the alleged coup attempt.

All of the high-profile detainees deny allegations of treason and bribery.

Luthfy has faced questions over political allegiance since his appointment to the five-member body.

He was among several heads of independent institutions who were awarded luxury flats at discounted prices in early 2015. In July 2010, a secretly recorded phone conversation revealed Luthfy was “ordered” to release an ACC press statement by MP Ahmed Nazim, formerly a close associate of President Yameen.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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