Civil Court denies request to prevent action against BML employees

Civil Court has denied the request for a court order that would prevent action from being taken against Bank of Maldives (BML) employees until the court concludes the case regarding provision of customer information to investigative authorities.

The request was made by BML in the Dispute Resolution stage of a case filed by BML against the Presidential Commission on State Asset Recovery at the Civil Court. The Bank requested the court to issue a court order that action may not be taken against employees for refusing to share customer information with the commission, until the court passes a ruling on the matter.

However, the Civil Court on Monday ruled that such a court order cannot be issued.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has intervened into the case, and it has been reported that ACC, the Asset Recovery Commission and the police have warned action against BML for not providing the necessary information. However, BML continues to withhold the information, stating that they believe a court order is necessary to disseminate the information.

In the past, the bank provided information to investigative authorities on their customers under Article 41 of the Banking Act. However, the bank stopped providing information under the Act after the High Court issued a ruling overturning the order to freeze the accounts of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom in relation to the MMPRC graft.

BML is accused of being negligent and allowing the MMPRC graft to take place.

Presidential Commission on State Assets Recovery earlier on Monday informed the parliament that Bank of Maldives deposited six 'Not Negotiable' cheques addressed to Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) received as lease acquisition cost for leasing islands and lagoons for tourism, to a private company named SOF Private Limited.

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is also investigating the matter.

Information officer of ACC, Hassan Manik earlier revealed that the commission is investigating the matter of BML as a separate case. Therefore, further information on the issue cannot be divulged until investigation is concluded, he said.

However, Deputy CEO of BML Mohamed Shareef told the Parliament's Public Finance Committee that there was no negligence on BML's part in depositing the cheques in question worth over MVR one billion. He assured that BML followed protocol and regulations in endorsing and depositing the cheques.

In a recent development, Shareef is now under scrutiny for 'providing false information to the parliament', with the parliament having reported him to the police for further investigation. The police have confirmed that investigation is underway.