Sergeant at Arms fired over attempted bugging of Parliament

Former Sergeant at Arms Mohamed Haleem | Photo: Parliament

Malé, Maldives – Sargeant at Arms of the Maldives Parliament Mohamed Haleem, was fired last Wednesday after more than one and half years of paid suspension.

Local media have reported that Haleem was fired after he was accused and investigated for failing to carry out his duties in the case of an attempted bugging of several Parliamentary offices.

However, this, or any other official reasoning for his dismissal has not been officially announced by the Parliament. Investigations into Haleem by the Parliamentary committees were also confidential.

The bugging case in this case came to light when it was discovered that both Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Deputy Speaker Eva Abdullah’s offices had listening devices attached to them.

Although it was never discovered who were behind this, the issue against Haleem was that he had not taken the matter seriously despite being the head of security. As such, the committee accused him of failing to fulfil his duties properly.

While the issue landed Haleem in a suspension with pay of MVR 32,000 monthly that extended to more than one and half years, the decision to dismiss him was only made on Wednesday; a long duration after the Parliamentary committee’s recommendation to fire him.

While this garnered harsh criticism, Media and Communications Director of the Parliament Hassan Ziyau said that Haleem was placed in a paid suspension until all required investigations were complete.

“There are aspects that need to be looked into when dismissing the Sargeant at Arms from among the three officers hired to the Parliament. These aspects required time,” Ziyau said.

The position of Sergeant at Arms was always filled by Haleem, since the creation of the position by the Parliament on 31 October 2013. He previously served a long time in Maldivian National Defense Force (MNDF).