Two shareholders of the Maldives’ largest print and online newspaper, Haveeru, have sued the company’s Chairman Mohamed Zahir Hussain alleging he had run the company on his own behalf and failed to pay their shares as stated in a 1983 agreement when the company was first established.
The first hearing into the case was held today in the Civil Court. A lawyer representing two of the shareholders told the court that there had been an agreement made on April 1, 1983 at the establishment of the publication stating that the profits would be share equally among Chairman Zahir Hussain, Ibrahim Rasheed, Abdulla Farooq and Mohamed Naeem.
According to local media, the lawyer told the court that Zahir has been running the company without the involvement of the other three shareholders and in such a way that the other three were not receiving any of the profits.
The suit requests, the court order Zahir pay the amount owed since 1983 to the other shareholders.
The lawyer also requested the court issue an injunction preventing the sale of Haveeru to another party before the case reaches a conclusion, on the understanding it would harm the interests of the other shareholders.
The court has said that it will decide on the request for injunction during the next hearing. Haveeru was represented by former Attorney General Husnu Suood.
Minivan News understands that Haveeru has been placed for sale by its chairman and is soliciting bidders.
The Maldives’ second oldest newspaper, Miadhu News, and its assets were meanwhile bought in April by presidential candidate and Jumhoree Party (JP) Leader and MP Gasim Ibrahim. Resort tycoon Gasim is also a member of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and owner of private broadcaster VTV.