JSC suspends judge who annulled charges against ex-VP Adeeb

Criminal Court Judge Ismail Rasheed. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Judicial Service Commission (JSC), on Sunday, made the decision to suspend Criminal Court Judge Ismail Rasheed, who pushed charges against former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor in connection to the MMPRC embezzlement case out of the court last week.

JSC, in a statement on Sunday evening, announced it has made the decision to remove Judge Ismail Rasheed from his duties as a judge for 60 days as it holds an inquiry into allegations of judicial misconduct lodged against him with the commission.

The commission said it made the decision “based on the nature of the case, the evidence presented in the case, a possible hindrance to the investigation if Judge Ismail Rasheed continues to serve as a judge over the course of the investigation, and the principle of preserving the integrity of the judiciary, and in reference to Article 25 (h) and (i) of Law Number 10/2008 (Judicial Service Commission Act)”.

JSC said that Judge Ismail Rasheed is accused of “open and clear violation of judicial conduct”, but that the details of the allegations against Judge Ismail Rasheed will be released “once the investigation is complete and in accordance with established policies”.

Former VP Adeeb had been pressed with seven charges based on the investigation into the MMPRC embezzlement case conducted by Maldives Police Service, Anti-Corruption Commission, and Corruption and Asset Recovery Commission; charges of money laundering, embezzlement, graft and abuse of power.

Judge Ismail Rasheed declared the charges against Adeeb invalid on July 14, during pre-trial proceedings to decide the validity of the plea bargain – which Adeeb told the court he had been forced to sign in exchange for medical furlough.

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem called a press conference the same day, during which he criticized the judge.

Shameem said he found the decision was legally unsound, and said that the judge had referred to documents which had not been presented to court or even mentioned during the pre-trial hearings, in his ruling.

The allegations of judicial misconduct against Judge Ismail Rasheed were lodged with JSC by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Shameem has stated that the alleged misconduct isn’t because the judge had annulled the charges, and that his office has shared the factors which it believes to constitute misconduct with the JSC in detail.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has appealed the contested ruling at the High Court.