This report looks at the political developments surrounding the work of the Parliament in 2014, and highlights the contested nature of legislation during the period. The report addresses some noteworthy bills, key institutional appointments and dismissals, and issues surrounding urgent national issues submitted to Parliament.
The lack of bipartisan support on crucial governmental legislation was a recurring theme in parliamentary proceedings in 2014. In some cases support for government-sponsored legislation was tied to the political dynamics prevailing at the time. For example, at the start of the year, the government’s budget was passed with broad support from then-coalition partners the PPM and JP, while MDP’s amendments to the budget were dismissed. In others, as in the case of appointments to key institutions, the failure of political parties to whip votes along party lines led to inconsistent stances on various issues across all major parties.
This in turn adds to the precariousness of democratic consolidation where opposition members allege the Executive branch’s encroachment on the principle of separation of powers and eroding constitutional maxims. On the other hand, the government, including the current Attorney General, in an interview to DhiTV news on 25 February 2015, has categorically denied any undermining of the Constitution.
1. Special Economic Zone Act
The enactment of the Special Economic Zones Act (SEZ) in August 2014 highlighted one of the flagship economic drivers indicated in the new government’s budget. Our January parliamentary update summarizes the developments surrounding the passage of the bill in Parliament. The JP switching from its initial ambivalence to fully supporting the bill’s passage prompted opposition media to suggest that the government’s impeding of Gasim’s business interests lead to the change. Since its passing, the government has stated that it is reforming existing bureaucratic hurdles to incorporate the provisions in the SEZ Act; and government representatives have given media interviews, albeit without specificity, on potential mega-investments following-from the Act. Other than a few news articles such as the one by former MDP administration Minister Inaz in Haveeru newspaper, a point of note is the lack of public commentary on the socio-economic impacts of the Act by accredited independent sources such as civil society.
The government may very well undertake to smoothly pass complementary regulation with its majority in Parliament, however, what is abundantly clear is that political consensus and cross-party support will be crucial to ensure an unhindered implementation programme. Attracting foreign investments under the Act is further complicated as it is closely tied to existing domestic political dynamics and fallout from political incidents(3) such as rights violations and suppression of dissent.
2. Penal code
The amended penal code will come into effect on 13 April 2015, and the Attorney General’s Office is carrying out training programmes and establishing resource office for stakeholders to improve competence in dealing with the new provisions in the code.
Whilst the government is seen to be speeding-up preparations for the advent of the new code, the opposition MDP has accused the government of “rushing the proceedings in order to convict former President Nasheed before the new penal code comes into effect in April” and has called on the Prosecutor General (PG) to cease his case against Nasheed. The PG has since withdrawn these charges, and has attempted to re-prosecute Nasheed, and others in his administration, under the 1990 Prevention of Terrorism Act. Nasheed was arrested by the Police on 22 February 2015 and his case is ongoing at the time of writing.
3. Amendment to eligible age for seeking presidential elections
The constitutional amendment submitted by the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA)—ruling party coalition partner—on 24 December 2014, which proposed to amend the eligible age for contesting in presidential elections to below 65 years faced widespread criticism from the opposition. The opposition, which included the JP after the dissolution of the coalition agreement with the ruling PPM, contended that the amendment was intended to bar JP leader Qasim Ibrahim from contesting. The legality of the amendment was questioned by prominent legal experts, including former Attorney General Husnu Al Suood, as being unconstitutional. Our October-December 2014 parliamentary update highlights issues surrounding this amendment.
The amendment was withdrawn on 3 March 2015 amidst media reports of a meeting between Gasim Ibrahim, prominent businessman Mohamed Moosa, and Tourism Minister Adeeb to discuss the current political situation and negotiate the withdrawal of this amendment.
Appointments and removal of members of key institutions
1.Removal of Elections Commission (EC) members
In February 2014, the Supreme Court (SC) initiated a contempt of court charge under its new “Suo Motu” regulation against EC members stating they violated the Court’s rulings on dissolving political parties(4). While there are problems associated with the “Suo Motu” regulation itself, the procedures undertaken in this instance against the Commission members heralded irregularities in the filing of charges and hearings. In March 2014, the Court ruled to remove the Elections Commission President Fuwad Thowfeek and Vice President Ahmed Fayaz Hassan and decreed Thowfeek serve a suspended prison sentence of six months.
Opposition parties and international civil society organizations have questioned the legitimacy of these expulsions as it was contrary to provisions on dismissal of EC members under the Constitution. This ruling also emphasizes the larger implications of the SC’s interpretations of contempt of court includes violating basic rights, principles of separation of powers and infringes on the autonomy of independent commissions. Building on the experience of the 2013 Presidential election where the independence of the EC was a dominant issue, there exists the possibility of negative impacts on future electoral environments.
2. Removal of Auditor-General
The government has continued in this trend of undermining the autonomy of independent, oversight institutions and in October 2014, the PPM proposed an amendment to the Audit Act, and removed the Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim on a technical triviality, before the expiration of the constitutionally mandated term of his office. The amendment is problematic in that it bypasses existing provisions in the Constitution that clearly prescribe the sole grounds for removal of the Auditor General – misconduct, incapacity or incompetence. It must also be noted that the passing of the amendment and the consequent removal of the Auditor General coincided with the release of an incriminating audit report implicating the current Tourism Minister. The opposition MDP protested the amendment as unconstitutional, nevertheless, it passed with 36 votes in favour and 22 against.
Ibrahim’s appointment as Auditor General was approved by Parliament in 2011 as President Nasheed’s nominee. During his tenure, Ibrahim presided over a spate of audit assessments into allegations of corruption under President Nasheed’s presidency, that were widely welcomed by the PPM at the time, as well as appraisals on corruption in the term of the current administration.
3. Removal of SC judges
In December 2014, a controversial amendment was submitted by an MDP MP to the Judicature Act to reduce the number of SC judges from seven to five. Following the amendment to the Act on 10 December 2014, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended the removal of Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain and Justice Muthasim Adnan citing “gross misconduct” as basis. This decision by the JSC to remove these judges without publicising the criteria against which they were evaluated raised questions about the transparency and fairness of the process.
On 15 December 2014, the Parliament approved the JSC’s recommendation by a two-thirds majority with 53 votes in favour and 21 against. Six of the JP members voted in favour as well as MDP MP Reeko Moosa Manik. Some MDP members did not attend the parliament session and allegations that opposition MDP MPs were offered bribes to stay out of the session ensured. The MDP has even followed-up with disciplinary proceedings against some MPs, including the expulsion of Manik.
This contentious removal of SC judges severely undermines the independence and integrity of the judiciary and exacerbates the allegations of political interference with the judicial system. The removal of both judges were heavily criticized by the opposition MDP, independent lawyers, the international community – including the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, and civil society groups. These actors highlighted the fact that upholding judicial integrity requires a concerted effort to reform the broader aspects of the judicial sector, especially the oversight mechanisms in place such as the JSC.
‘Kulli massalathah’ or national issues
1. Malé water crisis
A few “kulli massala” or urgent national issue cases were submitted to the Parliament in 2014. One of the most critical was following the Malé city water crisis, submitted by PPM. It called on the state to fully investigate of the causes of the crisis, and to undertake expedient efforts to solve the water shortage.
The crisis started with a fire at Malé’s only water purification plant, cutting off supply to every household. The government immediately formed a taskforce, headed by then Defence Minister Nazim. Drinking water supplies were quickly airlifted into Maldives by India and other friendly states including China and the US, somewhat alleviating the immediate crisis. Political rhetoric was brought into furore when the government’s response in the aftermath of the crisis was to ask for public donations of US$ 20 million to help fully normalize the situation.
The opposition MDP and civil society groups countered stating the lack of detailed information on the part of government authorities on the investigation into the issue, the arbitrary nature of the aid amount as well as need for soliciting aid from the public citing the government-owned Malé Water and Sewerage Company’s apparent lack of contingency plans. In the midst of the crisis, the MDP also passed a resolution to handover the presidency to JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, in an act largely viewed as an attempt to destabilise the government. Civil society groups responded to the resolution alluding that it inferred overruling constitutional electoral processes and called on all political parties to operate within the boundaries set in the Constitution.
2. Disappearance of journalist Rilwan
In August 2014, Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a journalist working for local newspaper Minivan News, disappeared and was allegedly abducted, and has been missing since. While the Maldives Police Service maintain they are investigating the disappearance, they have not been forthcoming with information or updates to either the public or Abdulla’s family. His family have since taken up a public campaign calling for state authorities to expedite the search and investigation efforts. The opposition and some civil society organizations have alleged state involvement invoking Abdulla’s prominence as a strong critic of the government on social media.
The Human Rights Commission has stated that state authorities are dragging their feet to address this matter and local and international actors have echoed similar concerns. A local NGO has, with the help of a UK-based investigator, undertaken an investigation into Abdulla’s disappearance, alleging involvement of gangs and have shared these findings with the police. The Home Minister has since acknowledged gang connections to the incident, but denied any state involvement in Abdulla’s disappearance and responded that the opposition were hindering investigations with such speculation.
The initial “kulli massala” issue submitted by MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy on Abdulla’s disappearance was accepted with bipartisan support on 19 August, eleven days after his alleged abduction. Since then, a 5,055 signature petition calling on parliamentary committees to investigate the disappearance and address police laxity in conducting the investigation was rejected by the Parliament. The Parliament’s Secretary-General stated the petition was rejected on an administrative technicality, which was contended by Fahmy, who argued he fulfilled all submission procedures.
1. Chaired by current Tourism Minister Adeeb. Board members are not reimbursed for their service, and thus, as claimed by the government, the appointments are not in contravention to restrictions placed on cabinet ministers in the Maldives Constitution, or the SEZ Act itself. The Constitution restricts members of the Cabinet from holding any other public office or office of profit, actively engage in a business or in the practice of any profession, or any other income generating employment, be employed by any person, buy or lease any property belonging to the State, or have a financial interest in any transaction between the State and another party. The government stated that the Board would not gain any financial profit, and would only act in the capacity of a governing body.
2. The current Attorney General is MP Nasheed’s partner at his law firm, “Nasheed Anil & Co.”
3. Including the ongoing trial of former President Nasheed.
– The Elections Commission did not receive a formal charge sheet until the defense team attended the SC for the second hearing on 18 February.
– The case was presided over by 5 out the 7 SC Justices. The Suo Motu Regulations specify that cases under it should be presided over by the full bench unless decided otherwise by the SC.
– The SC had not provided to the defense team the specific statements that allegedly involved contempt. The SC also had not clarified the exact manner EC violated SC’s ruling and order on political parties. In addition, the SC brought up charges on alleged violation of orders and ruling during the Presidential Elections.
The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act was passed in August 2014. The Act states guidelines and procedural aspects of investing, establishing and managing special zones at various areas of the country. It lays an edifice for economic, industrial, social, financial and infrastructural development. It allows economic activities to be carried out under a relatively liberal manner through tax exemptions to investors and developers. Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones, Zones reserved for offshore-financial services and high-tech parks can be established within the ambit of the Act.
In December the Judicature Act was amended, which included decreasing the number of judges of the Supreme Court bench from seven to five. This—as highlighted in the December edition of the Parliament Update—raised concerns about the political influence on the judiciary in the Maldives.
The chart below shows a party-level breakdown of the attendance.
The key political event in December was the removal of two judges from the Supreme Court bench after bringing amendments to the Judicature Act. In addition to this, several key legislatures were passed by the Parliament during the final sitting for this year 2014.
(1) Removal of two sitting judges from the Supreme Court
During the month of November a bill to amend the Judicature Act was submitted. The amendment proposed to decrease the number of judges at Supreme Court from seven to five. The voting was held on 10 December 2014, and 46 MPs voted in favour of passing the amendment while 21 voted against it. The amended Judicature Act provided for the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) to forward to the Parliament the names of two Supreme Court judges that the Commission deem as incompetent. On an emergency meeting held on 11 December 2014, JSC decided both Justice Muthasim Adnan and Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain as incompetent. During the extraordinary sitting of the Parliament held on 14 December 2014, MPs from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party (JP) condemned the Speaker of the Parliament and secretariat for failing to provide details of the JSC report which recommended removal of the two judges. MDP issued a three-line whip against the amendment , whereas JP issued a free whip. A total of 53 MPs voted in favour of the removal of the two judges while 21 MPs voted against the removal. Despite issuance of a three-line whip, six MPs from MDP did not attend the session, which helped the ruling coalition get the two-third majority vote required to remove the two judges. Five MPs from JP voted in favour of removal and four MPs from JP voted against the removal of two judges. A total of two MPs opted to choose neither sides and one MP abstained.
The US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal and international agencies such as International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) expressed serious concerns and disapproval citing the removal as arbitrary, unfair and unconstitutional. According to The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, not publicizing the grounds for removal of the two judges is not acceptable. She also added that it violates Article 154 of the Constitution which states that a judge may be removed from office only if JSC finds the person grossly incompetent, or guilty of misconduct.
A joint statement released by Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA), Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA), and Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) also condemned removal of the two judges as unconstitutional and a breach of Commonwealth standards.
(2) Newly passed Acts
During the month of December, several important Acts were passed. These include the Extradition Act, the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, and the Transfer of Prisoners Act. These Acts contain provisions that brought Maldives inline with various areas of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption to which Maldives had acceded to in 2007.
- The Extradition Act: The Act provides for the situations and procedures where people accused or convicted of crimes can be extradited to and from the Maldives. The Act classifies the types of offences for which individuals can be extradited and regulates the procedures to be followed in extraditing individuals.
- The Mutual Legal Assistance Act: The main objective of the Act is to mutually provide and get assistance pertaining to criminal proceedings, through establishing necessary relationships and procedures. Such assistance include the provision of evidence and arrangements for travelling of persons who provide testimonials against transnational crimes. In addition to this, asset and financial statements from banks and freezing of assets are also covered under this Act.
- Transfer of Prisoners Act: This Act provides for inter-state transfer of prisoners and allows them to serve whole or part of their sentence in their home country. According to the Act, the remainder of the sentence must be less than a six months and only the most recent sentence is considered.
(3) Constitutional amendments submitted
A constitutional amendment was submitted on 24 December 2014, which proposes to amend the Article 109 of the Constitution to bar the eligible age for contesting in the presidential race to 65 years. MPs from JP condemned such an amendment is a violation of a basic constitutional right. According to the prominent lawyer and former Attorney General Sood, a referendum is necessary before the Parliament decides to bring such an amendment. Amendments to the bill on security and benefits of ex-presidents was also sent to the Parliament on 25 December 2014. The amendments include various benefits entitled to ex-presidents and provisions for deprivation of security and benefits of the same.
The Parliament has concluded the final term of the year 2014 and the Parliament sessions for the year 2015 will commence during the first week of March. During the upcoming period, it is expected the Parliament will pass the amendments to the Prohibiting Threatening and Possession of Dangerous Weapons and Sharp Objects Act 2010. This Act comprehensively provides penalties against use of threatening and possession of dangerous weapons and sharp objects. Such penalties include capital punishment and life-time imprisonment.
The current Associations Act and regulations adversely affects the formation and running of civil society organizations due to the ineffective and bureaucratic system that does not distinguish between foundations, charities, sports clubs, NGO’s, CBO’s and federations and imposes one set of rules on all associations leading to administrative and governance difficulties; a legal framework from 2003 that does not take into account the expansive Bill of Rights enshrined in the Chapter Two of the 2008 Constitution of Maldives 2008; no provisions and systems in the current administrative and legal framework.
Work is underway in reforming the Associations Act in oder to develop and foster an enabling environment for the civil society to flourish.The governance, transparency and functioning of CBO’s will improve if the systemic issues in the regulatory framework are addressed.
Comments and recommendations on 2003 Associations Act addresses several legal issues with the 2003 Associations Act of the Maldives.
The National Integrity System of the Maldives is based on three compound structures of key institutions: the core government agencies of Legislature, the Executive and theJudiciaryÍ¾ the public sector agencies, the Civil Service and Law Enforcement AgenciesÍ¾the Elections Commission and Anti Corruption Commission, Auditor General’s OfficeÍ¾the Media and the Civil Society Organisations, Political parties and private sectorBusiness.
The methodology and guiding questions applied for the research are developed by Transparency International and are based on the concept of a strong National Integrity System (NIS) to ensure a sustained and strong control over corruption in all areas of the society (Visit http://goo.gl/eALDRV to learn about the NIS concept).
The conceptual framework of the National Integrity System (NIS) stresses the role and interplay of a broader institutional framework of the State, including ‘anti-corruption agents in government, civil society, the business community and other relevant sectors, in ‘building [the] momentum, political will and civic pressure for relevant reform initiatives’ required to reduce and eliminate corruption in public service. Therefore, in assessing the National Integrity System (NIS) of the Maldives, it is important for the assessment to investigate that process, and the outcome of interplay between institutions. This study draws up conclusions and recommendations with due consideration to that interplay. Recommendations provided in this study should be read reflecting on the factors that affect this interplay and its outcomes.
Political bias created through intermingled political thinking and practices embedded in key political institutions, including the Legislature and the Executive, reduces the capacity of other institutions to function independently. Moreover, political bias embedded in the institutional framework further reduces the level of accountability, transparency and integrity functions of almost all the institutions.
The legal framework, starting with the Constitution that provides and guarantees basic rights of people in the Maldivian society, establishes a notable legislative framework for the good governance of socio-economic activities. However, the broader legal framework lacks adequate organisational structures and capabilities, and this weakens the adaptive efficiency of that legal framework to practically execute institutional tasks in the most effective manner. Further, this institutional weakness lies with weak historical institutions or traditionally transmitted historical undemocratic constitutional rules that are embedded in the current political system. The Maldives only created a democratic political system after the enactment of its first-ever democratic Constitution in 2008. Prior to that, the Maldives followed a Constitution that was built on pre-1965 monarchical practices, and encompassed a Constitutional Government with weak political institutions, vesting excessive powers in the rulers or policy-makers. Although the Constitution of 2008 created a democratic Constitutional Government, the traditionally transmitted undemocratic political practices are also embedded in the new politico-institutional framework, thus weakening the overall institutional framework, and leaving room for misgovernance and political malpractices. Hence, the political and legal institutions in place to govern the society are also weakened, reducing their capacity to create and uphold national integrity.
– HA. Dhidhoo, December 2013 – The sand bags piled on HA.Dhidhoo island’s beach to restrict erosion are visible from
Zubaidha Abdul Razzak’s front door. The mother of four said the ocean used to be
250 feet away from the house, but now, during stormy weather, waves lap at her front
“The water in my well is salty. It corrodes the taps, and my children have had hair fall
and skin problems because we shower with groundwater,” she said.
The main sources of water on Dhidhoo – an island of approximately 5000 people and
a land area of 85 hectares – are groundwater, rainwater, and in recent years, bottled
water. The groundwater in the island has become salty and contaminated due to
erosion, overuse, and sewage water being pumped into the ground. In May during the
dry season, the island now runs out of potable water. A population boom,
mismanagement of water resources and unpredictable rainfall usually has led to this
shortage. According to Dhidhoo Island Council, the government provides up to 90
tonnes of desalinated water (produced in neighboring Kulhudhuffushi Island) to plug
the annual shortage in Dhihdhoo.
PHOTO: Ali Nishan
“The ocean used to be 250
feet away from the house,
but now in stormy weather,
waves lap at my front door”
Resident of HA. Dhidhoo,
Zubaidha Abdul Razzak
In 2011, the Government of the United States announced and
signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of
Maldives for a total of US$ 7.3 million project to provide an
island-wide solid waste management and an island-wide
desalinated water supply system, piped and metered to individual
households in Dhidhoo and LH.Hinnavaru. On 27 September
2011, USAID directly subcontracted the water project to an
American company Chemonics International. For this project the
selection of the project was carried out by the donor directly.
However, with the exception of repeated announcements by the
two most recent US Ambassadors to Maldives, there were no
further news of the solid waste management system.
Furthermore, to date the promised water supply system has not
Public expectations regarding the water project are high on
Dhidhoo. On July 10, 2012, the US Ambassador Patricia Butenis
visited Dhidhoo and pledged to provide a safe water system and
improve the existing sewerage system on the island.
USAID had chosen Dhidhoo and Hinnavaru Islands as the same
agency had installed a sewerage system in Dhidhoo and assisted
in the installation of a 30 tonne desalination plant in Hinnavaru
According to Ministry of Environment and Energy (MEE),
Chemonics International carried out several studies during 2012
– the first year of the project.
One such study, titled “A financial analysis of waterand sewer
infrastructure alternatives”, completed in May 2012, detailed out
the financial capacity to operate the planned water supply
system. The study concluded that there were insufficient funds
for a piped water network and recommended alternative methods
such as having a truck transport water to households. Chemonics
International proposed to install a central water supply using rainwater storage in community water tanks by means of
community tap bay.
However, MEE rejected the proposal, reminding USAID that the
original project proposal approved by government was to install
a piped and metered water supply to every household in both
Hinnavaru and Dhidhoo. The ministry said these plans had
already been communicated to the island councils as well as the
beneficiary communities and said the project must be
implemented according to the approved scope.
In December 2012, USAID informed the Government only US$
1 million remained for infrastructure development.
After several discussions and negotiations, in May 2013, USAID
agreed to allocate an additional US$ 3 million for infrastructure
development; a figure only sufficient for a piped network in
Hinnavaru, only one of the two islands. The government was left
with the task of explaining to the community of Dhidhoo that the
project will not proceed due to insufficient funds while at the
same time it is unclear why this happened.
Lack of information
Dhidhoo, as the capital of Haa Alif atoll and comprising a large
population, is a priority island for the government. However, the
government had not included provisions for a water system for
Dhidhoo in the state budget due to the USAID project.
Dhidhoo Island council member Abdulla Siraj criticized USAID
saying: “For a long time we were unaware of what was going on.
They come to this island every two months, but we don’t see
what they do. Are they trying to show us a dream?” he said.
Expectations are high on the island, Siraj said adding, “Everyone
knows the money has been allocated. The US Ambassador came
here. There is a project office, but we do not know what is
happening. Of the total amount for the two islands, we do not
know how much was allocated for Dhidhoo”
PHOTO: Transparency Maldives
Zubaidha Abdul Razzak’s home – the ocean used to be 250 feet away but now, during stormy weather waves lap at her front door.
Raising awareness for phantom projects
Donors must not allocate funds for soft components if there is no
money for infrastructure, the MEE has said.
“During this project, a lot of money has been spent on studying
various options with various consultants. Similar studies have
been done in other islands. I do not believe such studies need to
be done every single time,” a Director General at MEE said.
While the studies were ongoing, Chemonics International has
subcontracted local NGO Live and Learn to conduct awareness
projects on the island. A Live and Learn Staff Usman Ashraf said
he has conducted three awareness projects this year on water
management and safe use of drinking water. These activities are
now being questioned as the final project is not being delivered
and furthermore seen as wasteful as the issue of lack of funds for
infrastructure component is raised by the donor. “They have
wasted the allocated money on staff salaries, awareness programs
and useless studies,” Siraj said.
Donors must understand the scope of the projects they commit to,
MEE said. “When we say we want a piped network, they have to
understand what it means. We have emails and communications
that very clearly states that the government wants a piped
network in Dhidhoo and a piped network is expensive,” they
According to MEE, the project had also been impacted due to the
USAID focal point changing over time and different individuals
visiting the Maldives for follow-up visits.
Who should raise the alarm bell?
Had Chemonics International been reporting to the MEE, the
ministry could have intervened to stop use of funds on repetitive
studies. The contractors did not report to directly to MEE on a
regular basis because the project was implemented outside the
normal Government procedures. Projects are audited by the
Auditor General’s Office only by specific request of the donor.
Alternatively such projects would be audited by a private audit
firm, which may not capture the progress of projects against the
intended work-plan nor analyse the benefit to communities and
adherence to government policies. Such aspects are addressed
by Auditor General’s Office and government encourages more
involvement of AGO in donor funded projects as well. Such
projects also need to be reported on a regular basis to the central
monitoring agency of the government, Office of Programmes
and Projects who conducts onsite monitoring of projects they
oversee. No government agency also visited the island to assess
progress for this project. In addition, keeping the local councils
more informed is also a crucial monitoring strategy. For this
project, Dhidhoo council noted that they never received a
workplan or a copy of the contract made with Chemonics and
thus they were unable to monitor or report any delays.
Dhidhoo’s water project demonstrates the importance of donors
collaborating with the government in project implementation,
monitoring and oversight. Dhidhoo further shows project
designs need to align with community needs, and must be
implemented with the participation of government and local
Meanwhile, Zubaidha continues to hope for a water system. She
is waiting for a gutter system to be installed in her house so she
can collect rainwater for drinking and cooking.
“But a tank is not a sustainable solution. We want safe water in
our plumbing system too,” she said. “I’m hoping we get potable
water as soon as possible. We are constantly told we will get it
soon, people are constantly coming to survey, but we have not
seen a solution yet.”
Aishath Reetho, Senior Planner at Ministry of Housing and
Infrastructure said the government is now negotiating with a
private party to develop the water and sewerage system in
Dhidhoo under a public-private-partnership model. The private
party is to be offered concessions to build luxury villas in an
uninhabited island in Baa Atoll in return for 400 housing units
and a water and sewerage system in Dhidhoo. If the project is
approved, it will take another two years to complete the water
system. While the community waits for this untested model to
be successful, will they ever know why funds dried up for the
Access to information legislation crucial to fight corruption
Date: December 29, 2013
The passage of the Access to Information bill by the Parliament today was an important step towards increasing transparency of the state institutions, ensuring greater accountability of public officials, and fighting corruption.
Transparency Maldives hopes that President Abdulla Yamin Abdul Gayoom will expedite the ratification of the bill.We call on all actors and institutions to provide their full support towards successfully implementing the law once ratified.
For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed on 00 960 7908967.
Transparency Maldives conducted the Parliament Watch project from March 2010 to March 2011 in partnership with local NGO Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN). Though the Parliament Watch project is jointly implemented, this report is produced solely by Transparency Maldives.
The aim of the Parliament Watch project is to make the Parliament accountable through increased and effective monitoring of the legislative processes and routine workings of the Parliament as well as to lobby for specific changes in bills relating to governance and human rights. Though advocacy to amend bills was a joint effort of both Transparency Maldives and MDN, Transparency Maldives focused mostly on governance related bills whereas MDN focused on bills relating to human rights.
Transparency Maldives advocated for changes to most of the 32 bills passed by Parliament in the year 2010, focusing extensively on Decentralization Act, Local Council Elections Act, Right to Information Bill, Political Party Bill and Maldives Broadcasting Corporation Act.
Parliament Watch: An Evaluation of the Parliament of Maldives report is produced by Transparency Maldives under the Parliament Watch project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Read the full report here: Parliament Watch: An Evaluation of the Parliament of Maldives 2010
In Transparency Maldives’ podcast series, Assistant Auditor General Hussein Niyaz and Transparency Maldives’s Legal Assistant, Ibrahim Riza, discusses Right to Information (RTI) in the Maldives and best practices of a RTI bill.
Transparency Maldives developed a Position Paper (Dhivehi Language) based on the previously submitted comments on the RTI draft bill by TM to the parliament and international best practices. The Paper lays out the fundamental principles on freedom of information that a well-functioning RTI legislation must uphold. The Ministry of Gender, Family and Human Rights, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives, the Prosecutor General, the Auditor General and the Anti Corruption Commission have since endorsed the position paper. The position paper was submitted to the parliament on 24th October 2012.
Download the Paper