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AG Office requests apex court to review Dheebaja sentence

Shahudha Mohamed
28 January 2020, MVT 14:56
Attorney General (AG) Ibrahim Riffath. Although AG Office formerly stated that there were no grounds to request the Supreme Court to review their sentence on Dheebaja's case, the institution submitted a request on January 28. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
28 January 2020, MVT 14:56

Attorney General's (AG) Office on Tuesday requested the Supreme Court to review its sentence on the Dheebaja case.

The sentence passed by the Civil Court in October 2014, ordering the state to provide compensation for Dheebaja Investments Pvt Ltd, was overturned by the High Court in 2018.

The Supreme Court, however, in April 2019 overturned the High Court's decision on the grounds that the state's appeal was filed two months after the appeal deadline had passed, maintaining the Civil Court ruling in October 2014, and backed the payout of MVR 348 million in compensation to Dheebaja.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed's administration signed an agreement with Dheebaja in February 2010 to provide ferry services in the Nothern Province of Maldives, which was later annulled by Waheed's administration in 2013.

Dheebaja filed a case at Civil Court over the state's failure to make the payment as per the Supreme Court ruling.

However, the first hearing for this case scheduled for January 15 was cancelled citing an administrative issue.

While the case proceedings were ongoing at the court, the state initiated discussions with the company and reached an out-of-court settlement of MVR 174 million.

Amidst Dheebaja's concerns over the delay in the payment of the out-of-court settlement, AG Office disclosed on January 22 that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had ordered the office to request the apex court to review its sentence which upheld the Civil Court's verdict.

As per the AG Office, the request was made in the interest of the public, having taken into account complaints and concerns expressed by the public over the case.

At the time, Civil Court stated that the implementation of the sentence can only be halted after the matter was filed at the Supreme Court.the

Ibrahim Rasheed of Dheebaja Investments noted that Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath had formerly admitted in Parliament that there were no grounds to review the Supreme Court's sentence.

He added that the state had the capability to make the payment and declared that the company no longer wanted to grant the state more chances.

Speaking about the state's failure to pay the out-of-court settlement, Dheebaaja's Chairman Mohamed Shaaheen formerly told local media Mihaaru that the company had sustained irrecoverable losses as a result of the cancellation of their contract by Waheed's administration in 2013.

He further noted that the company continues to suffer as President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration is unable to keep their word.

Noting that the state did not respect the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Civil Court's verdict ordering the state to pay MVR 348 million to Dheebaja, Shaaheen further added that the company sat down with the state's settlement committee despite the sentence, on request of the state, and settled on half the owed amount of MVR 348 million based on a guarantee given by the government.

Drawing attention to questionable dealings involving the case, former Deputy Attorney General, Ahmed Usham, a lawmaker representing Villimalé, in April 2019, advocated for a state review of the case.

“Back in December 2018, when a sitting judge at the court called me to inquire about this case, I had reasons to believe questionable dealings were involved in this case. And I informed the current AG about it,” he tweeted.

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