Supreme Court rejects govt’s petition to quash High Court ruling to disclose US trip expenses

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih briefing the media after a 6 month hiatus on December 28, 2022 at the President's Office about the progress of the administration's socioeconomic plans. | Photo: President’s Office

The Supreme Court has rejected a motion by the President’s Office to keep the information confidential after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICOM) ordered it to disclose receipts for the expenses of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s September 2021 visit to New York.

When requested by ”Dhirayes” media for the details and receipts of the expenses of the President’s trip to New York, the President’s Office decided not to give further details except the total amount of expenditure.

ICOM ordered the receipts to be disclosed with the information required to be deleted. The President’s Office appealed the ICOM’s decision at High Court where the court ruled that the ICOM’s decision was correct.

Therefore, the President’s Office filed a petition in the Supreme Court on February 2 to appeal against the High Court’s verdict.

The Registrar of the Supreme Court has decided not to accept the appeal filed by the President’s Office as the prosecution had not submitted any reason to consider the High Court’s decision wrong.

The registrar’s decision can be appealable to the judges and they can hear the case if they see fit.

When asked to disclose the travel expenses under the Right to Information Act, the President’s Office gave the total cost of the trip which amounted to about MVR 5.3 million.

The state has said that if the receipts for the trip were disclosed, the president’s security could be disrupted and some people’s personal information could become public.

However, the High Court had ruled that details of expenditure should be given even after removing such information.