Original documents of transactions with Meridian Services stolen: STO lawyer

Lawyers for the government-owned State Trading Organisation (STO) claimed in the Civil Court today that original documents of business transactions with Dhivehi Qaumee Party (MP) Riyaz Rasheed’s Meridian Services had been stolen, reports Haveeru.

At today’s hearing of STO’s lawsuit against Meridian seeking to recover MVR 19.3 million (US$1.2 million) released as credit, the company’s lawyers said the theft of the documents from the STO office occurred on October 27, 2011 and were reported to police at the time.

The lawyer reportedly requested the opportunity to present witnesses to prove the authenticity of copies or other records of the stolen documents.

However, lawyers for the Vilufushi MP’s Meridian Services disputed the authenticity of the purchase orders, delivery notices and invoices submitted as evidence by STO, claiming the documents were forged.

The Meridian lawyer claimed that there were discrepancies in the purchase orders and delivery notes with inconsistent numbers and quantities as well as lack of signatures.

In response, the STO lawyer said Meridian had not submitted any evidence or a statement challenging the validity of the evidence submitted by STO.

The judge adjourned the hearing after announcing that a decision would be made at the next hearing over STO’s request to present witnesses.

On April 26, 2012, the STO issued a press statement announcing that it would file a case at Civil Court to recover MVR 19,333,671.20 (US$1,253,804.88) allegedly unpaid by Meridian Services.

STO and Meridian Services signed an oil trade agreement on March 31, 2010, which offered the company a credit facility worth MVR 20 million (US$ 1,297,016.86) for purchasing oil from STO, stipulating that payments had to be made within a period of 40 days.

However, in August 2010, STO lowered its credit limit from MVR 20 million to MVR 10 million (US$648,508.43) and shortened the payment period from 40 to 30 days, prompting Meridian Services to sue STO for alleged breach of contract.

Meridian Services however lost the first case after Civil Court Judge Abdulla Jameel Moosa ruled in favor of STO.