Request made at Supreme Court to review Deebaja case

The Attorney General's Office on Tuesday formally requested the Supreme Court to review the contentious verdict issued by the court in favour of Deebaja Investment Pvt. Ltd.

Deebaja Investment was contracted to establish a transport network in Noonu, Raa, Baa and Lhaviyani atolls in 2010 during former President Mohamed Nasheed's administration. However, during former President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik's administration, the government terminated the agreement in 2013 while the then Transport Ministry had failed to full their requirements in the agreement.

The government terminated the agreement claiming that the company had violated the terms of the agreement. The agreement stipulated that land must be issued to the company to develop a resort and a ferry terminal. However, the land was not issued by the government.

The company filed a lawsuit at the Civil Court which ended in their favour. The Civil Court ruling concluded that the government had violated the agreement by failing to provide the land to Deebaja Investment as mandated under the agreement. The Civil Court ordered the state to pay a compensation of MVR 348.10 million for damages. The verdict was later overturned by the High Court.

The verdict of High Court was taken to Supreme Court by Deebaja Investments based on one point only; being that the state had appealed the case at the High Court after the period granted for appeal had passed. Based on the oversight, the Supreme Court ordered the state to pay MVR 348.10 to Deebaja Investments.

The company later went to the settlement committee established by President Solih, and it was agreed to decrease the compensation figure to MVR 174 million. President Solih approved the number as per the recommendation of the settlement committee.

However, the parliament approved to request the Supreme Court to review the case after several members of the Public Finance Committee raised questions regarding the out-of-court settlement agreement between the government and Deebaja Investments, with many claiming foul play. Prior to the Parliament's decision, Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath was summoned to the committee and questioned extensively regarding the settlement.

The Attorney General had stated that he believes Deebaja Investment is entitled to compensation, and that he does not believe there is any benefit to the state in reviewing the case at the Supreme Court.

However, the committee approved to request the Attorney General to send the case to the apex court for review, and to submit the case to the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor General's Office for further review.