“Maldives can do whatever it wants”: Chief Justice of Singapore

The Supreme Court in Singapore has overturned an injunction blocking the Maldivian government from voiding its concession agreement with GMR and evicting the airport developer by midnight tomorrow.

“The Maldives government has the power to do what it wants, including expropriating the airport,” declared Chief Justice of Singapore, Sundaresh Menon.

The Maldives appealed the stay order which was granted after cabinet on November 27 declared the country’s concession agreement with the developer ‘void ab initio’, or invalid from the outset, and gave the company seven days to hand over the airport to the state-owned Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).

The government rejected the injunction, with President Mohamed Waheed’s Special Advisor telling reporters: “I believe that the Singapore court interpreted the law wrong. We cannot wait for a hearing of the appeal. What I am saying is there is no damage to GMR but we face damages by not terminating the agreement.”

GMR dug in its heels, clinging to the injunction, with the backing of the Indian government, which urged the government to take “no arbitrary and coercive measures pending the outcome of the legal process underway.”

CEO of GMR Male International Airport, Andrew Harrison, told Minivan News on Thursday afternoon that it was “too early to say” whether the withdrawal of the injunction meant company was now obliged to hand the airport over to MACL before the deadline on Friday.

“We are waiting to review the full judgement, which is currently being written up. We’ve always been advocates of following the law. We will have a staff briefing tomorrow afternoon,” he said.

MACL meanwhile released two statements claiming that it had met with airlines operating at the airport and advised them that it would be taking over the airport from midnight at December 7. Details of the meeting were not provided.

MACL’s website remains inaccessible a week after it was targeted by Indian hackers, who replaced it with the slogan: “If you don’t know how to secure a website, can you run an Airport securely, MACL?”

GMR held a press briefing for journalists in Delhi yesterday.

Asked about whether GMR had felt the involvement of another country such as China in the development of the Male’ airport, the company’s CFO Sidharth Kapur said “I can’t say that for sure. But, looking at the political situation and political framework in Maldives, I can’t rule out anything.”

GMR had received no response from any attempt to communicate with President Mohamed Waheed, he said.

President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad meanwhile told Indian newspaper The Hindu today that after reclaiming the airport, the government would again float a tender for its modernisation “and get more parties in to take the work forward.”

“The tender will be floated by the Maldives government in a transparent manner and after consulting investors. The mistakes made during the float of the tender which has been cancelled will not be repeated,” Imad told the paper.

The Waheed government has previously accused the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank entity, of being “irresponsible” and “negligent” in advising the former government of President Mohamed Nasheed in the concession of INIA

The IFC has denied the accusations, stating that its advice was geared towards achieving the “objective of upgrading the airport and ensuring compliance with applicable international regulations” and providing the Maldives government “with the maximum possible revenue”.

“A competitive tender was organised with the objective of selecting a world-class, experienced airport operator, who would rehabilitate, develop, operate and maintain the airport,” said an IFC spokesperson, in September.

Environment Minister Dr Mariyam Shakeela has separately appealed to China for financial and technical support, telling journalists from the Chinese government’s authorised web portal China.org.cn that the Maldives “needs funds for infrastructure building.”

“We are obviously in need of funds and technical assistance as we do not have the financial means, the technical know-how or the capacity to address these huge climate change issues,” said Mariyam, in an appeal for assistance with climate adaptation.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, under whose administration the concession agreement with GMR was signed, called on the government to reconsider its decision to take over the airport and “pull back from the brink and cease its counter-productive behaviour, which is damaging the nation’s economy and bilateral relations.”

Nasheed said the Maldives was “rapidly developing a reputation among foreign investors akin to Zimbabwe, where government might is right and contract law counts for nothing.”

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28 thoughts on ““Maldives can do whatever it wants”: Chief Justice of Singapore”

  1. Well! Minivan, so much for your effort of impersonating Dr Hassan and the current govt as nutshells, guess all your work has gone to waste! NOW who are the real idiots, wonder????

    PS;Weird how the heading is presented here, all in the name of defaming Maldivians, pathetic!

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  2. GMR just go home in peace!

    Big brother India is our closest friend. Its up to them to maintain that special relationship or throw away everything just because of the fiasco of the GMR deal.

    If India decides to break relations with Maldives, China will be more than glad to step in and take over that position of special relationship.

    Erratic former Leader Nasheed and his corrupt henchmen are to blame for this sordid affair.

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  3. Well it's decided and it's legal.

    However If you seriously think India would allow China to set up shop in their back yard you'd be very mistaken. The Maldives is a strategic asset being so close to India and Diego Garcia. It'd be like the Cuban missile crisis all over again.

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  4. Well there will always be the ignorant and stupid among us who fail to see that the way the Government has handled this is the real issue here. Contract disputes happen all the time all over the world, but surely for a government to resort as low as our government did in terminating the contract the way it did, shows the professional capability of our diplomats and politicians here. Sure Maldives Govt has the right to take back any of it's assets from investors, but guess we also better be prepared to see a huge decline in investor confidence due to such actions handled in the worst possible manner. Let's hope India is not going to hit back at us common Maldivians, due to the stupidity of our esteemed politicians like Waheed, Abas Adil Riza, Imran and the cabinet!

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  5. "Masood Imad meanwhile told Indian newspaper The Hindu today that after reclaiming the airport, the government would again float a tender for its modernisation “and get more parties in to take the work forward.”"

    Yes Sir! Er, actually, No Sir! Erm... Dunno Sir!

    I can see investors flocking in their dozens to get a piece of that. Good luck. Yes Sir!

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  6. Investor confidence will actually rise by booting out GMR. This will help fight corruption in Maldives. Foreign investors will now realize that there is no need to bribe top government officials to get contracts.

    Furthermore, those foreign companies who wish to conduct business legally in a transparent manner will now have the confidence that contracts will be awarded by the Government based on merit and not on bribes.

    Since Nasheed came to power corruption became rampant. The Maldives became on of the worst countries for corruption. Every single contract awarded by Nasheed's government was signed under a cloud of corruption. Activists of MDP who did not even have a decent job became rich over night under Nasheed's chaotic and corrupt Regime.

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  7. Okay, shimy, you and the rest of your gang can pay the fees. We're not gonna pay you anything. :)

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  8. Waheed probably dealing with the Chinese from the backdoor. If you think India was tough the Chinese won't be half as courteous. Will be interesting to see what happens in the new bid.

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  9. Ilyas, corruption became rampant since Nasheed came into power? Really? So Maumoon and his cronies were not engaged in any corruption? And that's why they had to resort to a coup to topple the democratically elected government? You are living in denial my friend. Even the next deal and the deal after that where the Government is involved in any FDI will be closed with corruption hidden somewhere, but with 30 years of experience Maumoon and his cronies are better at hiding it than the MDP government.

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  10. Contrary to what many are saying, it was not after the change of Government that there was opposition to the Airport concession. The then Opposition vehemently opposed it and did all they can through Parliament to stop it. The process of cancellation went ahead because those who Opposed came to power.

    There must be a reason why the Chairman of the board of Directors of MACL, who had time to go through the contents of the Agreement refused to sign it. He was sacked by Nasheed and a new Chairman was appointed. From the time of his appointment and the signing, he would not have had time even to go through the table of contents.

    GMR should and would have known what they were getting in to. It was a huge gamble for a very lucrative offer and in this case things did not go their way.

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  11. Totally agree with you MIND. But I am just appalled at the way our Government has chosen to handle the termination of contract, without going through due process. And with lunatics like Abas Adil Riza who openly insulted one of our closest neighbours. There are lots of corrupt politicians and businesses in the Maldives as well, but that would be no reason for a foreign government to insult the Maldivian government. And I also wish the government would come forth with evidence of the corruption that they are constantly referring to, instead of just talking about it like an excuse.

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  12. @Ilyas
    Only ignorance investors will dare to invest before the next election. Even after the election, it is still very risky due to the high corruption among the politicians.

    Good Luck!

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  13. Now let us handover this Airport to some outsider then new government will come and all will fight to kick them out. It will be a round robin

    Guys back to OLD times

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  14. Anni said GMR is very good. He said GRM is "Olhu dhooni". So I believe he is right. If Anni says anything we MDP people will believe. Anni is the man. He is the saviour for us MDPians. In him and only him we trust. We will commit mass suicide the day Anni is no longer with us. We love him so much.

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  15. WaketheFup...you got it right buddy...when they get doubly screwed by the Hans, they will realise the folly...and then India will care a shit about this place....

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  16. We all know India is our dearest neighbor but this deal has gone too far and we should also consider the corruption India itself is going through before being totally dependent on them.

    IOC suspends India from Olympics after row over upcoming elections
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/20600380

    Meaning; we, Maldivians need to use our own brains to solve our problems!

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  17. thats only if u had some peas for brains! maldives- the crabhole thats all folly!!

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  18. Please be mindful of the FACTS here. The Singapore court order is not complete, says India, BECAUSE "The judgment of the court of appeal of Singapore only addressed the issue of sovereign right of Maldives to take back the control of the airport, while the issue of legal status of the contract and the quantum of compensation that GMIAL would be entitled to had not yet been addressed."
    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/296888/singapore-court-order-not-complete.html
    Did the coup regime think that India is going to give up their investments so easily? Then more fool them!

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  19. For an administration who managed to buy off The CONI, winning a case in Singapore with the help of Sunda Menon is just metaa eh nu? We have the power and money to do what we want and we shall release the airport to a party of our choice.

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  20. The best part in this fiasco was how a deal was turned into a slanging match against India (while maintaining - India is a great friend). Even better how Islam was dragged into it. I would certainly watch how Islam and Maldivian nationalism reacts when the airport goes over to another foreign company. The present ruling govt. is courting China to counter India but they are just playing a very dangerous game. China would like to be annoy India but for them India is a better trading partner than Maldives can ever be. Bangladesh and Lanka have tried this card but with not much success.

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  21. You Maldivians are playing with fire. Do not try and play China against India - you will see a guerrilla war being fueled...remember the Sri Lankan war and Indians arming the Tamil Tigers ?

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  22. At face level, this may appear as if its Waheed coalition trying to deface privatization deals made by MDP government. But what this really is Maldives choosing a big brother - China over India. The true power of influence over a government lies with the person who owns most of its debt. India through SBI and government funding owns a significant chunk of the Maldivian debt. It is very bold of this government to put that to the test, unless China is willing to step in right away and offer help in return for placing its interests in this territory - right under India's nose. I

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  23. This haas nothing to do with the indian Government and it has got to do GMR. GMR is one of the biggest corrupted company in India.

    Even indian Government had filed fraud case against GMR in India too.

    Its quite sad that GMR had paid huge amount of money to Anni and his associates where by these guys are no longer able to protect the interests of GMR in Maldives.

    I am sure the compensation that Maldives got to pay to GMR will not be able to cover these bribes that GMR had paid to Anni and his associates.

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  24. What a bad news for mdp and minivan.. Guess all ur hard work has ended in utter failure. What a pity!

    http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/46010

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  25. Mody, you are so right, this isn't about Maldives and Indian Government, this is about Maldives Govt and GMR, but a fool called Abas Adil Riza dragged the Indian government into this by insulting the Indian government openly and without any proof of the accusations he made against it. Then another fool called Sheik Imran thought to drag Islam into this dispute as well, effectively making this dispute into a much bigger deal than it really is. But it's a bit late to ponder on that as the damage is all done. And also interesting that you are so sure about the bribe given to Anni by GMR and the amount of the bribe given too. How about making public all the evidence and documents you have so that this story of corruption actually has some reality to it instead of it sounding like a song that the government is singing as an excuse to terminate the contract. Mind you, I can believe the possibility of bribes and corruption, and not that it would be a first in such a deal, but it's just that no evidence has been presented on this alleged corruption and surely it would serve the government well to make such information public so that it doesn't look like it's following a religious extremists' warning when terminating the contract in the abrupt way it has done before the given deadline by the crazy sheik. And really hope you will keep an eye to ensure that the next party the airport is contracted to doesn't engage in corruption. But then again in this government we only have very patriotic and religious politcians eh.

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  26. Actually I am more interested in the 'fahari' versus Imran story. Can someone please ask Imran for the details? And also when he will start targeting Nexbiz, Malaysia?

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