President Ali approves extension for Mahdia Fire COI

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has authorised an extension of one additional month for the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) investigating the Mahdia fire. The extension aims to facilitate the completion of the probe into the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of 20 children.

Initially granted a two-month timeline, the COI was set to conclude in October.

Chairman of the Commission Major General (Ret’d) Joe Singh

Secretary of the Commission, Javed Shaddick, conveyed this information during a press briefing held on Monday at the commission’s office on Middle Street, Georgetown.

Shaddick explained, “The President had given a timeline of two months. The chairman of the Commission of Inquiry has requested that the timeline be extended for one more month, which will now conclude in mid-November… The President has since granted that wish.”

He further disclosed that 29 individuals have testified before the commission, and the body is currently reviewing the evidence to determine if additional testimonies are necessary.

Additionally, Shaddick said the commission has commenced the preparation of its report, which is slated for submission to President Ali at the conclusion of the extended timeframe. As part of the ongoing investigative process, the commission is scheduled to visit Mahdia on Wednesday for a site inspection.

“The commissioners and chairman have decided to return to Mahdia to have a site visit of the fire station, the dormitory, the hospital, and the Regional Democratic Office (RDC),” he stated.

The commission will also examine an alternative water source mentioned by a fire officer during testimony. Those who played a role in saving the children’s lives, including the dorm mother, will be present during the visit and may be questioned further if deemed necessary.

Moreover, Secretary Shaddick reported that Attorney-at-law Keoma Griffith, leading the evidence in the inquiry, has indicated that his final report submission to the commission will occur either on Friday or Monday, depending on the Mahdia trip.

The Commission, led by Chairman, Major General (Ret’d) Joe Singh, includes Commissioners, Attorney-at-law Kim Kyte-Thomas and Chair of the National Toshaos Council, Derrick John.