Meridium ordered to pay MVR 19 million to STO

Former lawmaker and owner of Meridium Service Private Limited, Riyaz Rasheed. (File Photo/Sun)

The High Court has ordered Meridium Service Private Limited to settle MVR 19 million in payments due to State Trading Organization (STO) for purchase of fuel.

STO had originally lost the lawsuit it filed against Meridium over the unsettled payments in 2016 over lack of proof Meridium had purchased the fuel from the organization.

The Civil Court’s decision was later appealed by STO with the High Court.

The High Court issued its ruling in the case this Thursday.

The court established that witness testimony proved fuel from STO on credit from August 23, 2010 to August 28, 2010 had been purchased by Meridum.

The High Court has ordered Meridium to pay MVR 18,949,473.40 – the total worth of 183 invoices issued by STO to Meridium, and an additional MVR 384,198.80 in late fines for failure to settle the payments within the required period.

The total amounts to MVR 19,333,672.

STO, during the original trial at Civil Court, submitted testimony of multiple witnesses, including fuel terminal workers who were present when the fuel was released to Meridium, was evidence.

The witnesses testified that the boat captain had been in charge of supplying Meridium’s boats with fuel, and that the discharge sheets had the exact time the fuel was supplied, the name and signature of the person who noted down the reading from the master reading meter, and the name and signature of the person who accepted the fuel on behalf of Meridium.

The witnesses testified that multiple boats from Meridium came in for fuel, including Riya 2, Riya 7, Riya 8, Riya 10 and Riya 11.

The High Court established there wasn’t discrepancies in the purchase orders, names of boats which made the deliveries, the dated signatures of the persons who made initial readings and the issuer, and the delivery notes prepared based on bills paid by Meridium which was submitted as evidence by STO.

The High Court referred to Article 6 of Evidence Act and, in light of full review of all the documents submitted as evidence, ruled it found the documents which Meridum asked to dismiss claiming they were copies, to be the copies of the original paperwork of transactions between Meridium and STO and therefore valid.

Article 6 of Evidence Act

  • The court may establish something to be true if the court finds such a circumstance exists or had existed in accordance with the set standards of proof. And if a person of sound mind testifies to the effect, and the court finds enough grounds to believe in high probability of such an occurrence, the court may establish it as proof in accordance with the policy for such exceptional circumstances.

The High Court therefore overturned the Civil Court ruling, and ordered Meridium to pay the MVT 19 million to STO within the next six months.

The court also established that STO, as per the credit purchase agreement, has the right to claim and sell registration number T-10 04-C8561A Atha 5, registration number C7615A-03 Bandu (Kalamidhi), registration number 7496A-C-03 Bandu (Riya 11) – which are registered to Meridium and mortgaged when Meridium purchased the fuel, via the court if Meridum fails to make the payment to STO.