The Civil Court has issued a court order today freezing the bank accounts and holding the passport of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali over a case filed by Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim to recover an unpaid debt of MVR 1.92 million (US$124,513).
Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Nazim filed the case requesting enforcement of a Civil Court verdict in April 2011 – upheld by the High Court in April 2013 – ordering the recently appointed running mate of President Dr Mohamed Waheed to settle the debt.
A Civil Court media official explained to Minivan News that freezing accounts and holding passports were the normal procedure to follow in cases of decreed debt.
The media official confirmed that the Civil Court has issued the court order to both freeze Thasmeen’s bank accounts and hold his passport following today’s hearing.
Thasmeen’s lawyer reportedly said that his client was preparing to appeal the High Court ruling at the Supreme Court. The judge however replied that the civil case would proceed until such a time when the Supreme Court decides to hear the appeal.
MP Nazim sued Thasmeen in March 2011 to recover MVR 1.92 million (US$124,513) unpaid from a loan worth MVR 2.55 million (US$200,000). After the Civil Court ruled in favour of Nazim, Thasmeen appealed the judgment at the High Court in June 2011.
At the time the case was filed at the Civil Court, Thasmeen’s DRP was in a formal coalition with the minority opposition People’s Alliance (PA) led by Nazim and current PPM presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen.
The DRP-PA coalition agreement was severed in July 2011 amidst internal strife within the then-main opposition party, which saw a breakaway faction loyal to former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom leaving the party to form PPM in October 2011.
Following an acrimonious war of words between then-DRP ‘Honorary Leader’ Gayoom and his successor Thasmeen, the former president withdrew his endorsement of the DRP presidential candidate in March 2011.
Meanwhile, at the final hearing of the Civil Court case in April 2011, Thasmeen’s lawyer reportedly claimed that Nazim agreed to sell Shaviyani Kabalifaru, which was leased for development as a resort in 2005, to raise funds to cover the MVR 2.55 million loan.
Thasmeen’s lawyer denied that an agreement was made between the pair to pay back the loan in a month, claiming that Nazim failed to find a buyer for Kabalifaru as agreed upon in November 2008.
The lawyer also denied Nazim’s claim that the loan was taken to pay back Thasmeen’s debts at the Bank of Maldives.
However, Nazim’s lawyer, Mohamed ‘Reynis’ Saleem – currently President Waheed’s member on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) – disputed both claims, demanding documentation to prove that Thasmeen gave power of attorney to Nazim to sell the resort.
At a previous hearing, Nazim’s lawyer had produced a document with Thasmeen’s signature, prompting Judge Hathif Hilmy to observe that the purported loan agreement had a reference number and that it was therefore reasonable to expect Thasmeen to be aware of the details of the amount in question.
Article 73(c) of the constitution states, “A person shall be disqualified from election as, a member of the People’s Majlis, or a member of the People’s Majlis immediately becomes disqualified, if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as provided in the judgment.”