Raajje TV has learnt that Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) has made a payment of 2.9 million Rufiyaa to Guraidhoo MP Ibrahim Riza as legal fees for defending a case which ended against MPL.
Last week, the Civil Court ordered MPL to make a payment of 160 million Rufiyaa to Centre Enterprises Company over an agreement made to purchase a tugboat.
Documents received by Raajje TV show that 2.9 million Rufiyaa was given to MP Riza on 11th May 2016 for agreeing to act as lawyer for the case.
Speaking to Raajje TV regarding the matter, MPL CEO Mohamed Juneid said the company was prepared to spend high legal fees to avoid paying 160 million Rufiyaa.
He indicated that the Civil Court decision would be taken for appeals at the High Court and also at the Supreme Court if necessary.
Juneid stated that a good lawyer would be appointed for the appeals case and that the company would take all measures to avoid a compensation of 160 million Rufiyaa.
He added that the decision was made by the board of MP to provide 2.9 million Rufiyaa as legal fees for MP Riza.
Raajje TV is unable to bring a comment from MP Riza over the matter as he did not respond to calls over two weeks.
On 27th December 2016, the Civil Court ordered to pay MVR 160 million to Centre Enterprises as per an agreement with the company to provide a tugboat for MPL.
In 2008, MPL signed an agreement with Center Enterprises on acquiring a tugboat, but the payment of MVR 13 million had not been made.
As a result, the court ordered the amounts to be paid as legal payment and overdue charges and additional fees for three years.
MPL requested Center Enterprises to stop working on the tugboat, by claiming that an order had come from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The tugboat, being built in Thilafushi Industrial Island, was 60 percent complete by then. The last payment for the boat was made in October 2015 and payment had not been made for 1065 days.
As per the terms and conditions of the invoice delivered to MPL, the authority was ordered to pay with a two percent surcharge of the total amount mentioned in the invoice.
The total amount in the invoice is MVR 13.8 million and the amount adds up to MVR 293.3 million with the surcharge of two percent.
Judge Mohamed Haleem referred to jurisdictions in similar cases and claimed that the amount sought by Center Enterprises had to be halved. He ordered MPL to pay MVR 138.9 million to Center Enterprises within six months.
In the second lawsuit, Center Enterprises sought damages for non-payment of the principal amount under the idle time charge of MVR 13.9 million through an invoice sent in September 2012.
The invoice states that 1.6 percent surcharge would be taken every month for non-payment of the amount within the deadline.
The company sought MVR 6.4 million and MVR 834,959 - a total of MVR 21.1 million - for the past 27 months without payment.
The court ordered MPL to pay the MVR 21.1 million to Center Enterprises within six months from the court ruling.
While MP Riza was provided 2.9 million Rufiyaa in legal fees for taking the case, sources say he did not attend hearings on many occasions.
Officials from MPL confirm that lawyers from the company had attended court hearings on various occasions where MP Riza did not attend court.