During a cabinet meeting of the previous government. Photo/President's Office

MVR 64m as Dheebaja compensation; outstanding MVR 51m blocked

The transaction was blocked after the new government took office last Saturday, the official said.

21 November 2023

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

The government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in an attempt to settle the dispute with Dheebaja Investment Pvt Ltd out of court, signed a settlement agreement to pay MVR 64 million in compensation to Dheebaja. Of this, MVR 12 million have been paid, while the balance MVR 51 million have been blocked by the new government of President Dr Mohammed Muizzu.

In 2013, president Mohamed Waheed's government cancelled an agreement with Dheebaja, which was awarded ferry services by former president Mohamed Nasheed's administration, and the company sued the state in Civil Court seeking MVR 2.8 billion in damages. They include:

  • In 2014, the court ordered the state to pay MVR 368 million in compensation to Dheebaja

  • The High Court quashed the verdict in July 2018; The High Court also decided to send the case back to the Civil Court

  • Last Thursday, the Civil Court ruled that the case should not be continued as Dheebaja had requested to withdraw the case

Dheebaja withdrew the lawsuits under an out of court settlement agreement signed on August 13 under the compensation rules formulated by the President's Office.

Atoll Times has obtained information about the transaction through the Attorney General's Office and an official of Dheebaja.

Under the agreement signed between the transport ministry and Dheebaja, the company will be paid a total sum of MVR 64 million as compensation. According to the agreement:

  • MVR 12.8 million within the first two weeks of signing the agreement

  • The balance MVR 51.2 million is due within one month from the date of signing; the deadline expired on September 13

When asked about the matter, the new Attorney General Ahmed Usham said after consulting the office that there was no official document to show that the compensation was decided.

"The decision to pay MVR 64 million was taken by the settlement committee at the President's Office on the advice of the cabinet's economic xouncil. No official documents show that this office was consulted," he said.

Usham believes that the Attorney General's Office should have a say in the decision as it is a court case. Some other cases in court have been resolved out of court without the consent of the office.

“So, we are now gathering information on these transactions,” he said.

A Dheebaja official told Atoll Times:

  • The company has received MVR 12.8 million within the first two weeks of the agreement

  • The balance was approved by the then finance minister Ibrahim Ameer on Thursday, the last day of the former government

"The finance minister sent it to the MMA. That's where it went wrong. They said some documents were missing and stopped it," an official of the company said on condition of anonymity.

The transaction was blocked after the new government took office last Saturday, the official said.