High Court rules Deputy Solicitor General cannot represent state in ACC lawsuit

The High Court has ruled that Deputy Solicitor General Ahmed Usham cannot represent the Attorney General’s Office (AG) in a case forwarded by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over the Nexbis border control contract.

In a hearing Monday, the High Court said Ahmed Usham, appointed by the AG’s Office to defend the state, was a member of the tender evaluation board that originally awarded Nexbis the contract . It ruled that Usham’s involvement in the process therefore represented a “conflict of interest”.

The High Court added that having Usham as a representative for the government would not be appropriate to continue the case, which was related to the tender evaluation process of the contract.

The court body said the decision was made was by the three presiding judges Dr Azmiraldha Zahir, Abdulla Hameed and Yousuf Hussain.

The case was first filed at the Civil Court after the previous government defied an ACC order to discontinue the Nexbis border control system project.  The ACC claimed that there might have been corruption involved in awarding the contract to Nexbis and asked parties to re-submit their bid for the contract.  Nexbis denies the allegations.

In a previous ruling, the Civil Court issued a declaration that there was no legal grounds for the Immigration Department to follow the ACC’s order to stop the border system.  The case has now been filed by the ACC at the country’s High Court.

Meanwhile, newspaper ‘Haveeru’ reported that a hearing was held yesterday where the state attorney told the High Court bench that the Home Ministry had asked the Immigration Department to stop the border control project.

The state attorney told the High Court bench that the Home Ministry had sent a secret letter to the Immigration Department.  The letter could not be given to the ACC, but was able to be shown to the presiding judges, reported Haveeru.

The paper also reported that lawyers for the ACC contended that the Immigration Department was still continuing with the Nexbis project.

Legal authority

The Civil Court in January 2012 ruled that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) did not have the legal authority to order the Immigration Department to terminate the agreement.  Judge Ali Rasheed said at the time that while the ACC Act gave the commission the authority to investigate corruption cases, it was not able to annul contracts.

Judge Rasheed asserted that it was “unfair” to contractors if the ACC could annul an agreement without their input, as this violated their protections under Maldives Contract Law.

In December last year, the ACC forwarded a corruption case against former – and now reappointed – Immigration Controller Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PG).  The case, which also implicates Saamee Ageel, Director General of the Finance Ministry at the time, alleged that the pair had abused their authority for “undue financial gain” in giving US$39 million to Nexbis as agreed under the deal.


2 thoughts on “High Court rules Deputy Solicitor General cannot represent state in ACC lawsuit”

  1. it was not a state attorney who represented the state yesterday, but the other deputy solicitor general of the attorney general's office.

  2. There might have been corruption involved in awarding the contract?

    I dont think in court will ask might


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