ACC members given 5 days to respond in writing as part of dismissal process

Parliament's Committee on Independent Institutions meets to discuss the dismissal process of Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) members on December 16, 2021. (Photo/People's Majilis)

Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee has decided to grant the opportunity to the members of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to respond in their defense as part of the process of their dismissal.

In an extraordinary sitting of the Parliament held today, the chair read the report sent by the Committee regarding the initiation of the process to dismiss ACC members after which the matter has been sent back to the Committee. Subsequently, they now have the green light to move forward with the dismissal process.

A meeting of the Committee was held following the sitting as part of the dismissal process – where the matter of letting ACC members respond was discussed.

Committee member, Inguraidhoo MP Hassan Mohamed (Hassantey) expressed that he fell apathetic towards granting them a chance to respond – citing that the members have been summoned before the Committee on multiple occasions to be questioned since being appointed to the post. Despite this, he stressed that no improvement was made.

“The things they say before the committee, in reality do not match with their actions. As I see it, even if the Committee does nothing to dismiss them, the Auditor General’s Office has formulated a report on the institution, which clearly states what needs improvement,” he added.

With reference to the report – Hassantey said that delaying the implementation of the recommendations in it will be detrimental. Therefore, Hassantey proposed to not grant the opportunity for ACC members to response and decide to dismiss them; subsequently sending this decision to the floor.

Hassantey’s proposal was supported by some Committee members who debated in favor of it. Meanwhile, some members strongly debated against it.

Members who debated against it noted as it was not matters of individual members that were being reviewed, it is not the most ideal decision to not grant a chance to respond.

Committee’s chairperson, Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam expressed that it was not right to dismiss the members without giving them any space to respond.

Following their debate – the Committee concluded to grant ACC members a chance to respond in their defense by writing, within the timeframe of five days.

Independent Institution’s Committee raised a total of 10 issues in their report following its performance audit of ACC members. One such issue which was raised is that charges have only been requested in one percent of ACC cases although investigations into 61 percent of cases have actually been completed.

Committee’s report also states that they have noticed a large number of old cases still remain unfinished whilst a lengthy amount of time is taken to request charges from the Prosecutor General’s Office, after a case is complete. Highlighting that a large number of cases in which charges are requested from the PG Office are sent back to the Commission for further investigation – the Committee stressed that such matters can only be solved by a change of members.

The report stresses that ACC’s work is unusually slow – adding that a large number of monies that need to be recovered for the government, still remains unrecovered. They specified that ACC had only recovered MVR 11,000 as of October – from the monies which need to be recovered for the state.

Currently, there are three ACC members in office. They are; ACC’s President Mariyam Shiuna, Vice President Fathimath Anoola and Member Aishath Abdulla.

Ibrahim Shakeel, who was serving as a member tendered his resignation following the Committee’s decision to initiate the dismissal process. Meanwhile, Ashraf Ali, who was also serving as a member had resigned earlier amidst the performance audit.