High Court orders DRP Leader Thasmeen to settle MVR 1.9 million debt to Deputy Speaker Nazim

The High Court today upheld a Civil Court verdict in April 2011 ordering Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali to settle an outstanding debt of MVR 1.92 million (US$124,513) owed to Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim.

MP Nazim, who recently joined the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), sued the DRP presidential candidate in March 2011 to recover MVR 1.92 million (US$124,513) unpaid from a loan worth MVR 2.55 million (US$200,000).

While the High Court upheld the lower court verdict, the ruling (Dhivehi) invalidated the part of the Civil Court verdict ordering Thasmeen to pay Nazim MVR1,800 (US$140) incurred as lawyer’s fees based on a rate of MVR300 per hearing.

Nazim had claimed MVR100,000 (US$6,485) as compensation for lawyer’s fees.

The three-judge panel presiding over the case included High Court Chief Judge Ahmed Shareef, Judge Abdulla Hameed and Judge Ali Sameer.

The High Court judgment coincided with the launching today of the DRP’s fourth national congress at the Dharubaaruge convention center with 700 delegates.

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 Saleem, 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 note 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.

At the time the case was filed, 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 terminated 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.