Business & Tourism
Windfall for ex-lawmaker’s firm from US$22m Dheebaja payout
Alhan Fahmy’s firm stands to earn half of the payout as a “success fee.”
Former MP Alhan Fahmy’s law firm is due to receive half of a US$22.5 million payout ordered by the Supreme Court last month.
The payout was won by Dheebaja Investment as compensation for the cancellation of a contract to provide ferry services in four northern atolls.
Alhan has confirmed to local media that a leaked agreement between Dheebaja and his firm Kings Attorneys and Consultants circulating on social media is authentic.
“I don’t think it is a problem to have a fee in an agreement for work done by a law firm,” he was quoted as saying in Mihaaru.
But the law firm has yet to receive the “success fee,” he noted.
After the payout was order last month, the Attorney General’s office decided to ask the Supreme Court to review its judgment. It was unclear how the court arrived at the US$22.5 million figure as it was not derived from an audit report, Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath told the press.
Dheebaja was enlisted during the administration of former president Mohamed Nasheed in 2010 to provide ferry services in Noonu, Raa, Baa and Lhaviyani Atolls in exchange for 47 plots of land to build hotels and ferry terminals.
The agreement was terminated by former president Dr Mohamed Waheed’s government in May 2013, a unilateral decision that was deemed unlawful by the civil court.
The lower court judgment in favour of Dheebaja Investment was overturned by the High Court last year. But the Supreme Court quashed the decision on the grounds that the state’s appeal was filed two months after the deadline expired.
The ruling prompted calls for the Supreme Court to review its decision in light of the financial loss to be borne by the state.
“Back in December 2018, when a sitting judge at the court court called me to inquire about this case, I had reasons to believe questionable dealings were involved in this case. And I informed the current AG about it,” tweeted former deputy attorney general Ahmed Usham, the MP-elect for Vilimalé.