MPL CEO: Administrative error led to political dismissal chit

CEO of Maldives Ports Limited (MPL), Shahid Ali speaks during a press conference by MPL on January 15, 2019. (Sun Photo/Ahmed Awshan Ilyas)

Maldives Ports Limited CEO Shahid Ali has said that a chit reading that an employee was dismissed due to defamatory social media comments was issued on an administrative error.

The employee of Hithadhoo Ports Limited (HPL) that was dismissed was an assistant operations officer of HPL since 2014 and was dismissed on May 2. A letter of warning was issued to the employee for defamatory statements and read that further statements on social media regarding the President and Speaker would be met with a dismissal from the post. 

The letter of dismissal sent at first also read the same, however, it was retracted and sent again. The part regarding the defamatory statements on social media was retracted in the later chit and read that the employee had violated the code of conduct. Both chits were sent yesterday.

CEO Shahid said to Sun that the first chit was sent due to an administrative error, which was corrected and issued again.

“The first chit was an administrative mistake. It was corrected later on. The terms used in it were not what should have been used.” Said Shahid regarding the two chits with his signature.

Shahid maintained that the employee was not dismissed due to criticism directed at the President and Speaker, but for violating the code of conduct. He added that the policy for dismissals was followed in the case.

There was no connection with freedom of expression and the employee’s dismissal, said Shahid who added that an employee would not be dismissed for expressing opinions.

When asked what the actions of the employee were that violated the code of conduct, Shahid said that he could not disclose the details right now due to the type of case and the relevant department would do so.

Shahid also said that the employee had not succeeded in reconciling according to the advice issued in the last warning and that the employee was warned of being dismissed in that document as well.

The Parliament’s Judiciary Committee chair and MP for North Maafannu Imthiyaaz Fahmy has said in connection with the matter that the committee will remain wary of unfair dismissals attributed to political criticism.

How such dismissals are dealt with by the Employment Tribunal will be closely monitored by the Judiciary Committee said MP Imthiyaaz.

Before coming to power, the MDP officials have previously said that criticism on social media would not result in such dismissals. Repeated declarations by current top government figures who were part of the opposition back then had read that freedom of expression would be fully provided during an administration of MDP.