Dheebaja contract terminated wrongfully, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court has ruled that the government wrongfully terminated its agreement with Dheebaja Investment to provide ferry services.

Dheebaja Investment Company was awarded the contract to provide transport services in N., R., B., and Lh. atoll in 2010, during former President Mohamed Nasheed's administration. However, in 2013, the agreement was terminated by the government of President Abdulla Yameen. According to Deebaja Investments, the government terminated the agreement without fulfilling the requirements of the then Transport Ministry.

Following the termination of the agreement, Dheebaja filed a civil suit in which the state awarded the company MVR 348 million in damages. The prosecution appealed the judgment in the High Court, which decided to quash the Civil Court's judgment.

In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that the state should pay compensation to Dheebaja. The compensation amount was set as MVR 174 million following negotiations between the government and Dheebaja.

However, the prosecution moved for reconsideration of the top court verdict, and the Supreme Court later decided to quash its earlier verdict. The court, however, said the High Court's decision could still be appealed at the Supreme Court. Exercising the opportunity, Dheebaja for a third time, went to the Supreme Court to appeal the High Court's decision to squash the initial Civil Court ruling. The top court reached a verdict on the matter on Sunday, six years after the case was first filed at the Civil Court.

The Supreme Court on Sunday ruled that the government's termination of the Dheebaja agreement was wrongful. However, the court also ruled that the Civil Court's order to pay MVR 348 million as compensation to Dheebaja was illegal. Therefore, the Supreme Court granted Deebaja the opportunity to file a separate case in the Civil Court to determine the amount of compensation due to Dheebaja.

The Supreme Court bench comprised of Justices Ali Rasheed Hussain, Mahaz Ali Zahir, and Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim.