The Parliamentary Committee on National Security Services has unanimously approved a motion to summon Defence Minister Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon. The minister is expected to provide updates on two critical issues: the ongoing investigation into the assassination attempt on former President Mohamed Nasheed on 6 May 2021 and the government’s procurement of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from Türkiye.

The motion was proposed during Tuesday’s meeting of the 241 committee by Hassan Latheef, the Member of Parliament (MP) for West Henveiru and leader of The Democrats. Central Fuvahmulah MP Hussain Mohamed Didi supported the proposal, which was subsequently passed with the unanimous approval of all lawmakers present at the meeting.

As per the motion, Minister Maumoon is required to appear before the committee within five days, armed with detailed information about the ongoing investigation into the assassination attempt and the specifics of the government’s deal to purchase ‘Bayraktar TB2’ drones from Türkiye.

This development follows a request made by West Maafannu MP Imthiyaz Fahmy, also of The Democrats, on Monday for the parliament to officially solicit information from the defence ministry regarding the investigation into the terror attack against former President Nasheed, who was serving as the speaker of parliament at the time.

Minister Maumoon, when questioned in parliament on Monday, stated, “From what I have observed [about the investigation], there is new information in the defence ministry that I wish to share with this parliament. However, I can only divulge that information when you [the Parliament] formally request it.”

Regarding the drone acquisition, Minister Maumoon added, “I am not at liberty to discuss the specifics here. However, I am prepared to share details at a closed-door meeting of the 241 committee.”

In a related development on Monday, Minister Maumoon advocated for enacting a confidentiality act to safeguard government secrets. This came while addressing the scrutiny surrounding the Maldives National Defence Force’s (MNDF) procurement of military drones.

In response to lawmakers’ questions, the minister defended the state’s prerogative to withhold certain military details from the public domain. He underscored the necessity of a confidentiality act that would legally categorise state secrets according to their sensitivity, thereby protecting them from being exploited for political propaganda.

Minister Maumoon’s proposal for the Confidentiality Act envisions a legal framework where divulging sensitive information would constitute a criminal offence, with law enforcement authorities responsible for preserving such classified information.

This initiative, discussed with the security services committee, aims to facilitate the secure dissemination of confidential data to parliament, ensuring that state secrets are not misused for political gains.