Employee sacked in biggest BML fraud to be reinstated

Bank of Maldives tower in Male' City | Photo: Corporate Maldives

Malé, Maldives – Fathimath Shafrath, a former Bank of Maldives (BML) employee terminated for allegedly being involved in the biggest fraud case within the bank should be reinstated as an employee, ordered the High Court of Maldives.

The case was appealed in the High Court by Shafrath, who worked as the POS Banking Lead for the Channel Management Department o BML since 2017, after being sacked from her job, and taking up the matter at the Employment Tribunal of Maldives which did not end in her favour.

Shafrath’s termination was finalised in 2019 following a an internal investigation, looking into suspicions against her husband who was also working at the bank at the time.

Referring to the case, BML stated that this was the biggest cause of fraud that took place amongst the bank employees and that a total of seven million Rufiyaa was lost all together within the span of roughly one and a half years.

In court, BML stated that Shafrath’s husband has lived an undue richness and, as such has traveled abroad multiple times and lived a lavish life which Shafrath shared as well. Following the investigation, on 25th June 2019 Shafrath was terminated with claims that she had violated the Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure of the bank.

Following her termination, Shafrath filed the case to the Employment Tribunal asking to declare that her suspension and termination was unlawful, order to reinstate her employment and compensate her of all salaries and allowances due to the day of her reinstatement. However, the Tribunal declared that her dismissal was fair and just and denied her requests.

She then appealed the case in High Court, which declared a verdict on 2nd March, 2022, detailing that Shafrath’s dismissal from employment was without a notice. The verdict further elaborated that it can also be known that Shafrath’s termination was not due to any allegations of fraud, based on BML’s testimonies.

The High Court highlighted that BML’s justification for Shafrath’s termination at the Employment Tribunal was lack of trust in her as an employee following the internal fraud case against her husband, and belief that Shafrath violated the bank’s policies and employment agreement. In light of this, the High Court clarified that Shafrath’s termination was not based on fraud activity, and that the bank failed to justify and provide evidence to back any connection between Shafrath and her husband’s illegal activities.

Further details by the High Court revealed that the main reason which the bank based their allegation against Shafrath was the fact that Shafrath’s husband paid for multiple credit cards that were in her name, which the bank claims is against its policies and thus results in a lack of faith and trust in her. However, the High Court stated that the bank sustained no damage because Shafrath’s husband paid her credit card fees and that there is no clear reason to believe that this affected the banks trust.

The opinion of Judge Ali Sameer, which was supported by Judge Fathimath Farheeza said that the justification given by BML for Shafrath’s dismissal without notice is not acceptable nor fair.

As such, the final verdict issued by the court ordered BML to reinstate Shafrath’s employment or provide her with employment of similar standing within 15 days from 2nd March, 2022. The verdict additionally declared that Shafrath is within her rights to receive compensation and that should Shafrath file a case with the Employment Tribunal within three months, the court should decide on a fair compensation regarding the matter.