The Civil Court has denied MVR 111 million in compensation for SJ Construction for losses allegedly incurred in the Zikra Mosque construction project.
SJ Construction was awarded the project to build a 10-storey building at the site of Zikra Mosque on 9 July 2018 under Former President Abdulla Yaameen Abdul Gayyoom’s administration. Following this, SJ Construction was presented with a 30-day notice for the dissolution of the agreement as they were unable to show the required progress in their building efforts, and were directed to clear the Zikra Mosque grounds on 23 May 2019 at the end of the notice period.
An appeal was submitted to Civil Court by SJ Constructions on 20 April 2019 to claim MVR 141 million as compensation from the state for losses incurred after the agreement was dissolved.
Then-president Yaameen's government had claimed that the 10-storey building to be constructed at the Zikra Mosque site would be called "Dhaarul Zikra," and estimated the total cost to be incurred around MVR 130 million. The case filed by SJ Constructions details that, the MVR 111 million they were seeking as compensation was excluding the MVR 30 million that the previous administration had already paid them as an advance for the project.
The Civil Court's verdict on the case states SJ Constructions had failed to meet the terms in the agreement they had signed with the Islamic Ministry at the time, and therefore the Ministry presenting them with a 30-day notice was within the grounds of their legal prerogative and did not go against the initial agreement.
Judge Fayyaz Shathir, who presided over the case at Civil Court, declared in his verdict that while it was not apparent the 30-day notice presented by the Islamic Ministry to SJ Constructions was within the rights afforded to them under section 10:55 in the First Amendment to the Public Finance Act, SJ Constructions had failed to prove in court the alleged losses that entitled them to compensation from the state in this case. He announced that the money SJ Construction was seeking to claim was not covered under section 17.4 of their initial agreement with the Islamic Ministry, which detailed funds the company was entitled to, and that the court's verdict was to deny SJ Construction the millions they demanded in unlawful compensation.
The former Minister for Islamic Affairs Dr. Ziyad Bagir had claimed that work for the first three stories of the new "Dhaarul Zikra" site would be complete by Ramadan of 2019, but once the agreement with SJ Construction was dissolved, work ceased at the site, leaving Zikra Mosque partially demolished with no further progress.
The Anti-Corruption Comission (ACC) also investigated the case of the Zikra Mosque construction project, following which they appealed that the Prosecutor General charge Ex-Minister Dr. Ziyad Bagir along with Ibrahim Abdulla Saeed, the head of the Islamic Ministry's Endorsement Section at the time. As of now, cases have been lodged against both at the Criminal Court, pending a final verdict.
Zikra Mosque was first built by Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom in the 1980s, in memory of Abdul Gayyoom Seedhi, who was his and Yameen's father.