Supreme Court declares Dr. Zahir as the owner of Haveeru

Dr. Mohamed Zahir Hussain. (Photo/Images MV)

Supreme Court, on Sunday, has overturned the High Court judgement establishing Haveeru News Agency as the owner the daily newspaper, Haveeru – establishing Dr. Mohamed Zahir Hussain as the owner instead.

The initial case regarding the ownership of Haveeru News was filed by stakeholders of Haveeru News Agency; Farooq Hassan and Ibrahim Rasheed Moosa. At the time, they filed for their share from the earnings of Haveeru as well as to be involved in running the publication.

The Civil Court ruled in favor of company chairperson Zahir in 2014. The ruling was overturned by the High Court in 2015, establishing Farooq and Rasheed held stakes in Haveeru.

Supreme Court, on Sunday, established Dr. Zahir as the owner of the Haveeru and overturned High Court’s judgment by the unanimous consensus of all justices who heard the appeal.

Justice Aisha Shujoon, who headed the bench, said the agreement executed in 1983 between the founders to incept Haveeru is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and therewith, does not introduce legal rights nor can be legally enforced.

In light of this, Justice Shujoon found Farooq and Rasheed had no claim of ownership.

Justice Ali Rasheed Hussain and Justice Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim who was on the bench backed Justice Shujoon’s appointment.

Haveeru, during the trial, noted that all loans and other monies required for its operations had been acquired under the name of Dr. Zahir.

Amid the ownership dispute – Dr. Zahir, in 2013, incepted a company under the name Haveeru Media Group and switched all assets to the company’s name, with three of his children as the shareholders, to run Haveeru. Haveeru, the longest-running news publication in the Maldives, shut down after 37 years in 2016 in light of the Civil Court injunction, ordering the newspaper to be run with the participation of all three shareholders