Nothwithstanding a Singapore High Court order on Monday staying the termination of GMR’s airport contract, the Maldivian government said it would wrest control of the airport later this week. Maldives called the order a wrong interpretation of law, asserting it would not honour the order.
According to GMR, the contract provided that in case of dispute, either the law of Singapore or the UK would prevail. However, Maldives said no injunction could be issued against a sovereign state and that its decision was “non-reversible and non-negotiable.”
“The High Court of Singapore has granted injunctive relief against the applicability and operations of letter dated November, 27 issued by the ministry of finance and treasury (MoFT), government of Male,” GMR said in a statement. “We would fight for our rights all the way through the court. That is very clear,” Andrew Harrison, CEO of the GMR airport project, told a news channel. “We expect that under the terms of the concession agreement...any orders issued by the (Singapore) court would be respected, because that is enshrined within the agreement,” he added.
“We will continue the airport takeover and Inshallah, next Saturday onwards, state-owned Maldives Airport Company Ltd (MACL) will be running the airport,” Mohamed Nazim, defence minister and acting transport minister, told reporters in Male on Monday, according to agency reports.
On the Bombay Stock Exchange, the GMR Infrastructure scrip rose 5.36% to end at R19.65, on a day when the benchmark Sensex fell 0.18%.
On November 27, acting on Maldivian government's instructions MACL terminated the contract awarded to GMR in 2010 during the previous regime of President Mohamed Nasheed.
The Maldivian government says where compensation is adequate, no injunction can be issued as per the laws of Singapore and the UK. It said that since the Maldivian government has initiated the arbitration process, GMR would be compensated.
The new Maldives government has alleged that the previous dispensation favoured the private company by allowing it to levy development fee and insurance charges of $27. GMR has said that as per their terms of agreement, it was entitled to charge the ADC of $27 per international passenger from January 1 , 2012. However, this was disallowed by a Maldivian civil court in December 2011.
GMR had subsequently written to the government that it would adjust the shortfall due to non-collection of ADC from the annual payable concession fee. The Maldivian government agreed to it in its letter on January 5,