Some MPs have alleged at today's parliament session that the Arbitration Bill submitted to the parliament by former President Mohamed Nasheed's administration is closely linked to corruption.
During the debate regarding approving the bill at today’s parliament session some members claimed that the bill is important to eradicate corruption from the country, while others claimed that the bill would pave the way for corruption if approved in its current state.
Supporters of the bill were mainly MPs belonging to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) who say that the bill is important to prevent corruption and protect businesses.
Citing the Herethere resort case in which the government had to pay the Yacht Tours Company Maafannu-South MP Ibrahim Rasheed said that had an Arbitration Act been in place the case could have concluded in a different manner.
“If such a bill had existed all investors will include an arbitration clause in the agreement which would clearly state in case of a dispute or conflict of interest arbitration would lie within a certain court. That the conflict will be solved between both parties by the court mentioned in the agreement. There are easy ways, but matters have escalated so far due to the absence of such a bill,” Rasheed said.
Pro-government MPs in the parliament however counter claimed that the bill paves the way for further corruption and that such a bill should not be implemented in the Maldives.
“The bill might in itself be a good bill. A legally endorsed method of settling disputes outside of a courtroom is good, but the former MDP lead government submitted the bill to the parliament as a direct route to corruption,” Kelaa MP Abdulla Mausoom claimed.
Kulhudhufushi-South MP Mohamed Nasheed answered all questions posed by MPs regarding the bill. He said that the Arbitration bill has been structured based on the standards set by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and that the bill is not designed to allow matters to be settled through commercial arbitration.
Nasheed detailed that matters will be settled under the arbitration policy with registered qualified lawyers present, and though the policy is similar to commercial, conciliation and mediatory arbitration, it is a completely different concept.
He revealed that given the Maldives has signed the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards last year, legislation addressing arbitration needs to exist.
He stressed that though settling a matter through the court maybe cheap the process is slower. He said that though arbitration costs more with the help of professionals in the field the matter will be settled sooner.
“When it is claimed that the bill allegedly promotes corruption, anyone listening would feel ashamed when they hear the English translation,” Nasheed said.
The bill submitted to the parliament on behalf of the government by Nolhivaram MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed last year.