Former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Musthafa has said he is filing a case in the Supreme Court requesting the apex court declare the seat of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali vacant, over unpaid debts.
Musthafa contends Thasmeen – recently appointed President Mohamed Waheed’s running mate ahead of September’s election – had not paid loans he took from Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim or those taken from the Bank of Maldives in the name of a company of which he is a shareholder.
Musthafa himself was disqualified from the parliament in 2012 over an unpaid decreed debt, which the court concluded had rendered him constitutionally ineligible to remain in the seat.
As a consequence, Mustafa said that there was precedent for the court to declare Thasmeen’s Kendhoo Constituency seat vacant.
On June 17, the Civil Court ordered all Thasmeen’s bank accounts of frozen, and ordered immigration to withhold his passport following a case filed by Deputy Speaker Nazim to recover a debt of MVR 1.92 million (US$124,513).
MP Nazim, of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), initially sued Thasmeen in March 2011 to recover the remainder of 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.
In October 2011, the High Court upheld Civil Court verdicts ordering Mahandhoo Investments and Kabalifaru Investments – two companies with ties to Thasmeen – to repay millions of dollars worth of loans to the Bank of Maldives Plc Ltd (BML).
In the first case involving Mahandhoo Investments, BML issued a US$23.5 million demand loan, a US$103,200 bank guarantee and US$30,090 letter of credit on July 10, 2008.
The second case involved a US$3.3 million loan issued to Kabaalifaru Investment. The appeal of a Civil Court verdict on September 30, 2009 ordered the company to settle the debt within 12 months.
Meanwhile, a third case involving a Civil Court verdict in December 2009 ordered luxury yachting company Sultans of the Seas – with close ties to the DRP leader – to pay over US$50 million in unpaid loans, including incurred interest and fines, was appealed at the High Court.
In September 2009, Maldives Customs filed a case at Civil Court to recover US$8.5 million from Sultans of the Seas in unpaid duties and fines for allegedly defrauding customs to import two luxury yachts, and in February 2010 the court ordered the company to pay MVR 110 million (US$7 million) as fines and unpaid import duties.
In July 2009, then-PPM Vice President Umar Naseer filed a case against Musthafa shortly after the MP won the election for Thimarafushi constituency against former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s son, Gassan Maumoon.
Umar Naseer contended that Musthafa not repaid a loan of US$31,231.66 (MVR 481,952) borrowed from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) according to the court order and therefore must be removed from parliament for the violation of article 73(c)1.
According to the article 73(c)1 of the constitution, “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.”