Thilafushi Corporation sues ACC

Thilafushi Corporation Limited (TCL) sued the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) at the Civil Court today claiming the commission’s order to stop work on the US$21 million Thilafushi reclamation project awarded to Heavy Load Maldives was not legally justifiable, reports Haveeru.

TCL lawyer Mazlan Rasheed argued at court that the ACC did not have the authority to order the government corporation to scrap the project, which was was both “irresponsible” and “illegal” as the order was made before the commission completed its investigation process.

TCL therefore requests that the Civil Court declare the ACC order unlawful, he said.

ACC lawyer Areef Ahmed Naseer however denied the claims, insisting that the commission acted within legal bounds.

Judge Abdulla Ali adjourned the hearing after granting Naseer’s request to provide the ACC’s defence in writing next week.

Heavy Load, a family business of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP “Reeko” Moosa Manik, was awarded the US$21 million project on September 30 last year, and inaugurated the project on February 4.

Moosa told Minivan News in February that the commission’s order was politically motivated, claiming that “there is a part of the ACC that is not free and fair.”

“PA’s Deputy Leader [Ahmed] Nazim is very close with one of the commission members, [Abdulla] Hilmy, which needs closer investigation,” Moosa said. “I am a strong part of this government and I think this is a political trick. I haven’t even been into the Heavy Load office in one and a half months because of my campaigning [in the local council elections]. It is run by my family, my children.”

In an audio clip of a leaked phone call between Nazim and PA Leader Abdulla Yameen that emerged in July 2010, the Deputy Speaker is heard to say that he has “given warnings” to ACC members to issue a press release regarding dismissed Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem.