Process of dismissing ACC members commences

Members of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) captured at a press conference on March 28, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

After holding an extraordinary sitting out of session – the Parliament has commenced the process to dismiss members of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee voted to initiate the process of dismissing all ACC members last week.

As per the Parliament’s regulation, if it has been decided to initiate the process of the dismissal of members of an independent institution – the matter first needs to be sent to the Parliament’s chair. The dismissal process can only be acted on after the chair announces the matter during a sitting.

The chair read the report sent by the Independent Institutions Committee regarding the initiation of the process to dismiss ACC members at today’s extraordinary sitting – 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.

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.

As Parliament’s chair has sent back the matter to the Independent Institutions Committee, they will now deliberate on their decision to dismiss all ACC members – during which the members would be given a chance to respond in their defense. After the Committee makes a final decision – the matter will be sent back to the floor.

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.