19 people paid MVR 6.8M in compensation for wrongful dismissal

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaks at the ceremony held to confer the Rehendhi Awards 2020-2021 on September 6, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

President’s Office states that 19 employees who were wrongfully dismissed by the former administration have been paid MVR 6.8 million in compensation. 

President’s Office made the remark in a statement in response to a whitepaper published by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) last week regarding the integrity of the system for compensation for damages incurred in state projects. 

President’s Office said that 37 cases were submitted to the Settlement Committee established back in 2019 to reach out-of-court settlements in cases filed against the state with courts and in arbitration which could result in massive financial losses to the state. 

The only dispute the government paid financial compensation to resolve were two cases lodged by Noomadi Resorts and Residences against the state with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, said the President’s Office. 

One of the cases involved an agreement on January 20, 2011 between Noomadi and the then-Maldivian administration to develop 600 housing units under a private villa model, and the second case involved an agreement on May 30, 2013 between Noomadi and then-Maldivian administration to develop 500 housing units, a police academy, and sanitation systems in three islands. 

President’s Office said Noomadi had demanded USD 155 million as compensation, but later negotiated the figure down to USD 55 million. 

President’s Office said the government had also reached out-of-court settlements in response to the wrongful dismissal of 19 employees by the former administration. 

The lawsuits were filed against Employment Tribunal, MNDF, Maldives Police Service, Maldives Correctional Service, Tax Appeal Tribunal, and Kaadedhdhoo Airport. 

Total MVR 6.8 million was paid as compensation to settle the disputes. 

ACC, in its whitepaper, highlighted aspects of cases involving compensation for damages incurred in state projects submitted to the commission which could facilitate corruption. 

One of the key issues highlighted by ACC is the lack of detailed instructions on specific standards on the Settlement Committee’s policies which it can refer to when making decisions. ACC noted that it opens room for the Settlement Committee to make different decisions in similar cases as well as decisions the committee sees as fit at the time. 

ACC also made recommendations to minimize the risk of corruption in the compensation system. 

However, the Settlement Committee had been already dissolved when ACC released its whitepaper. 

President’s Office said the Settlement Committee last convened for a meeting in February 2020, and that the committee was dissolved in September 2020.