Leaked audios spark heated exchanges at Parliament

Lawmakers pictured during a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The Parliament was the scene of heated exchanges on Monday morning, a day after the leak of audio recordings allegedly of three of five judges on the Criminal Court bench which found former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom guilty of money laundering back in 2019. 

Opening Monday’s sitting, Vilufushi MP Hassan Afeef announced the Parliament had received two emergency motions; one submitted by PNC leader, Maduvvari MP Adam Shareef Umar, and the other by MDP member, Makunudhoo MP Mohamed Raee. 

The Parliament therefore conducted a draw to select which motion would be presented first in accordance with parliamentary regulations. Raee won the draw. 

Raee’s emergency motion called on authorities to conduct a full investigation into the cargo ship which ran aground off the coast of K. Rasfari and take all necessary action. 

Before the motion was presented, PPM deputy leader, Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam raised a point of order and said that Adam Shareef’s motion should have been presented first, given the seriousness of the allegations on the leaked audio recordings. 

He said that the judges had been recorded saying the current administration had influenced the sentence against Yameen. 

“I believe this should be the first issue this Parliament should look into,” he said. 

The presidency rejected the point of order raised by Shiyam, and opposition parliamentarians rose from their seats and protested in front of Afeef. This included Felidhoo MP Ibrahim Fazul Rasheed, Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Toriq, and Guraidhoo MP Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon. 

Raee was unable to present his motion. 

When the opposition parliamentarians began protesting, Biledhdhoo MP Ahmed Haleem (Dhonbileh) raised a point of order and said that they should be ejected from the Parliament chamber. 

“Paying some people to release audios has nothing to do with the Parliament’s presidency,” he said. 

Haleem repeatedly raised point of orders to voice his allegation that the audio recordings were fake, and prepared by paying some people. 

Opposition parliamentarians argued said that the issue was a matter of national interest, and should be looked into as an emergency motion. 

Afeef responded that the motion was not in the agenda and that the Parliament can only look into motions that are in the agenda. He added that such issues should be raised with the High Court or Supreme Court. 

Raising a point of order, Addu Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam questioned the origin and authenticity of the audio recordings.  

“They are one to talk about judges. The people who prevented this Parliament from functioning and threw parliamentarians over its walls are talking about judges now,” she said. 

The heated exchanges forced the Parliament to suspend the sitting.