State challenges payout to official sacked over sexual harassment claim

State challenges payout to official sacked over sexual harassment claim
August 29 18:58 2016

The attorney general’s office has filed a case at the high court to overturn a lower court order to compensate a top government official sacked for sexual harassment.

The civil court had ruled in November that Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, former chair of civil service commission, be paid MVR421,733 (US$27,000), an amount in salary and benefits he had lost after being removed by the parliament four years ago.

Ahmed Usham, spokesperson at the AG office, said that they filed an appeal a few months after the civil court ruling. “We believe that the compensation amount is unjust,” he said, adding that a more reasonable amount would be MVR171,733 (US$11,137).

In his tenure at the CSC, Fahmy had allegedly touched a female staff member on her stomach saying, “It won’t do for a beautiful single woman like you to get fat.” A parliamentary committee found him guilty and removed in November 2012.

But the supreme court annulled the parliament’s decision in March 2013, stating that Fahmy could not be removed unless he was found guilty by a court of law.

At the time, the parliament refused to recognise the reinstatement and appointed a new chair for the CSC. Fahmy, however, continued to turn up to work until the commission cancelled his fingerprint access to the office.

In 2013, President Abdulla Yameen appointed Fahmy as the deputy high commissioner to Malaysia. He was promoted to the post of the high commissioner last year.

The supreme court’s ruling in Fahmy’s case formed the precedents for the civil court ordering the reinstatement of several security forces officers to their jobs.

Taking a cue from the SC ruling, a civil court judge ordered that former police intelligence chief Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed be reinstated. Hameed, who was appointed to the job in the Nasheed government, was charged with leaking sensitive information and dismissed shortly after the government was toppled in 2012. The state has since appealed the case.

However, on Thursday, the high court ruled that the precedent set by the apex court in Fahmy’s case will not apply to police and military since the two bodies have separate regulations on disciplinary action. The apellate court was hearing an unfair dismissal case filed by one soldier and two police officers.