No plans for a Central Intelligence Agency: Presidents Office

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih | Photo: MDP

Malé, Maldives – Presidents Office has revealed that the government has no intention of forming a Central Intelligence Agency.

In a statement released by Presidents Office in relation to a report published by local online media ‘Dhiyares’ about some members of the intelligence audit committee formed by the office following the attack on Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed on May 6, 2021.

In the statement, Presidents Office revealed that Maldives Police Service and Maldives National Defence Force would always be handling the intelligence matters of the country and that there was no intention of creating a centralized agency for intelligence.

Presidents Office also stated that while they encourage free media that reports which spreads misinformation would not be entertained and advised journalists to maintain professional and ethical standards.

The statement came following the report by ‘Dhiyares’ media titled “Numerous concerns on the intelligence audit by Presidents Office!” which had accused Secretary of Foreign Relations at Presidents Office, Sabra Ibrahim Noordeen and Secretary of National Security Advisor’s Office of the Presidents Office, Aishath Nooshin Waheed who were directors of Police Intelligence during Former President Mohamed Nasheed‘s presidency for leaking confidential information.

According to the report, Sabra and Nooshin had leaked information related to Police Intelligence, including details of Covert Human Intelligence Sources. The report had also highlighted the concerns of Commissioner of Police, Mohamed Hameed, who was the head of intelligence at the same period for being in the intelligence audit committee.

Following the report, Presidents Office had stated that everyone hired for various positions of Presidents Office have their police clearances given and that Sabra and Nooshin had been hired after all formalities were completed. The statement by Presidents Office also stated that the intention of the intelligence audit committee was pure and that media’s publishing such reports compromises the trust of public in such committees and that it also hinders the works being done by the committee.

The audit into national intelligence mechanisms began on May 15, 2021 after a committee consisting of Presidents Office and Attorney General’s Office was formed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

The intelligence audit comes following the May 6 terror attack against the former President and current Speaker of the Maldives Parliament Mohamed Nasheed which has left him severely injured.

The IED explosion went off around 20:20 on 6 May leaving Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed critically injured while he was getting in to his car near his house, G. Kenereege, Malé City. In addition to him, 3 more people were also been reported to be injured from the explosion including the Speaker’s bodyguards and bystanders.

Nasheed was brought in with heavy bleeding, and both internal and external shrapnel injuries. Ball bearings were found in Nasheed’s chest, near the heart. Injuries caused by these projectiles caused life threatening damage to the chest area. Nasheed endured major injury to the fourth rib, with a blade going through a lung. A projectile also went through his intestine with another near his liver. 

Speaker Nasheed was treated at the Critical Care Unit of ADK hospital in Malé until yesterday and was airlifted to Germany yesterday for recovery and rehabilitation. Parliament had revealed yesterday that Speaker Nasheed’s medical expenses in Germany is being covered by Honorary Consul of Maldives in Germany, Christian Von Stetten.

In the press conference held by Ministry of Defence and MNDF on May 7, 2021, Chief of Defence Force, Major General Abdulla Shamaal told that the IED was an improvised one which was controlled remotely and set off as Speaker Nasheed was about to get in to his car last night. 

He also added that the IED was several times stronger than the one which was set off at Sultan Park in 2007 and also revealed that last nights one had ball bearings inside as shrapnel to increase the damage caused.

This also comes while Parliament member of Hulhudhoo constituency, Ilyas Labeeb told that he had informed Defence Minister Mariya Didi of a possible assassination attack on Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed. 

In a statement released by MP Ilyas following Minister Mariya’s interview to a local media stating that no credible information was received, MP Ilyas told that he had first informed Speaker Nasheed of the information he had received from a civilian and as per the Speakers instructions that he called and informed Minister Mariya as Defence Ministry and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) was responsible for the security of state heads. 

While Minister Mariya had told that she had informed MP Ilyas to report the case to Maldives Police Service or inform the Commissioner of Police, Mohamed Hameed, MP Ilyas had denied it stating the Minister Mariya had made no such request. 

As the responsibility of providing safety and security to President Nasheed [Speaker of Parliament] was legally mandated to Defence Ministry, upon informing them, they did not instruct me to inform Maldives Police Service nor the Commissioner of Police of this attack

Hulhudhoo constituency parliamentarian, MP Ilyas Labeeb

Although he did not mention any names, aiming his comments towards Defence Minister Mariya Didi, MP Ilyas also told that he was giving his full cooperation to the investigation and that while the investigation of the case was ongoing that it was unprofessional of people in high positions to give such information to media’s for people to debate on. 

According to local media “Raajje MV” which quoted Minister Mariya, a MP Ilyas Labeeb who is also on the National Security Services committee (commonly known as 241 committee), had called Defence Minister Mariya and informed that he had received information from a citizen that there was a plot to carry out an attack on Speaker Nasheed for a price of USD 3 million.

Defence Minister Mariya had told that Speaker Nasheed’s security was being followed up by Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). Minister Mariya had told local media that Speaker Nasheed’s security was increased to the highest level two months ago even before the parliamentarian had given the information. 

While Defence Minister denied that the call was in relation to the assassination attack on Speaker Nasheed on May 6, 2021, she told that no “credible and actionable intelligence” was received about the actual attack. 

It was also revealed that Minister Mariya, Chief of Defence, Major General Shamal and head of intelligence had met with Speaker Mohamed Nasheed to brief him on previous threats and had given advisories over it.

While Minister Mariya had said that Speaker Nasheed’s security was at the highest, Major General Abdulla Shamaal had told earlier that MNDF had requested relevant authorities to remove the motorcycles being part at Neelofaru Road where Speaker Nasheed’s home is located amid security assessments done by MNDF.