The Civil Court, on March 6, ordered Maldives Customs Service to return MVR 22 million to CGT Pvt Ltd, the largest tobacco importer in Maldives, over an import duty dispute.
The Court provided Customs a six-month period to reimburse the company, whose shareholders include Male' Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC)'s suspended Chairman Ahmed Mausoom.
The company had filed a claim over the MVR 22 million import duty imposed on six of its cigarette shipments which arrived in Maldives prior to ratification of additional regulations to the Import-Export Act on March 2, 2017.
While the new regulations hiked import duties on cigarettes, CGT had paid the duties for the cargo on February 17, 2017, according to previous rates.
According to Customs, CGT stored its's cargo at the bonded warehouse and was only cleared after the new regulations came into effect and would, therefore, be subject to the increased duties.
Import duties are applicable to goods stored at Custom's bonded warehouse.
In reference to the hearings held during former attorney general Mohamed Anil's tenure, the state previously maintained that MVR 22 million was the valid amount to be charge as import duty.
However, following the change of administration, CGT's suit was accepted by the government.
CGT was represented by lawyer Hisaan Hussain from the local law firm, Hisaan Riffath and Co.
According to local media Mihaaru, sources indicate that the attorney representing Customs resigned from the case, prior to the verdict.
Moreover, a letter to the Attorney General was submitted by the lawyer.
President’s Office suspended MWSC's Chairman Ahmed Mausoom on February, regarding transactions worth MVR 6.1 million carried out between SOF Pvt Ltd and two companies of which Mausoom is a shareholder.
According to Anti Corruption Commission (ACC)'s investigative report on the graft corruption of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation, SOF transferred embezzled state funds to CTG and MC Maldives Pvt Ltd. Mausoom is a shareholder of both of these companies.