Transport Minister says she followed due process, repealed shipping regulation with AG's counsel

Transport Minister Aishath Nahula. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Muzain Nazim)

Transport Minister Aishath Nahula has stated that she followed due process, and repealed the regulation on shipping agencies under legal counsel from the Attorney General’s Office.

A case has been lodged with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), alleging that Nahula made a unilateral decision to repeal the regulation by abusing her official authority to obtain undue benefits.

In a press statement in response to the case, Nahula said that the regulation presented multiple issues, and that the Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee had instructed Transport Ministry to revise the regulation after consulting with relevant stakeholders, as the input of stakeholders was not sought when the regulation was originally drafted.

Nahula said that the Attorney General’s Office counseled Transport Ministry that the remedy to revising the regulation lay in repealing it.

“I have not taken any action in violation laws, regulations and procedure, neither is there anything that warrants questioning, and the sole purpose of repealing the regulation is to resolve the issues and redraft the regulation,” she said.

The case against Nahula was lodged with the ACC with the signatures of 70 people. They wrote in their letter that the Transport Ministry took no action to implement the regulation on services of shipping agencies published on the Government Gazette by the Transport Authority on July 16, 2020, and that the lack of implementation of the regulation was raised with the Transport Ministry on multiple occasions.

 They said that the regulation states it must be implemented by Transport Authority or “the ministry charged with overseeing maritime transport”, and that Nahula instructed Maldives Transport Authority’s Board to repeal the regulation and make arrangements so shipping agencies can once again begin charging for services via an internal memo.

They said that though Article 14 of Transport Authority Act establishes that it is the responsibility of Transport Authority’s Board to establish the policies and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of the Act, and that it is therefore the responsibility of the Board to run Transport Authority, as well as establish and repeal regulations.

Nahula has however been accuse of making a unilateral decision to repeal the regulation, without a Board resolution, by abusing her official authority to obtain an undue benefit.