Five appointees by the previous administration to the board of the Bank of Maldives (BML), including the current chairman, had their appointments abruptly revoked on Thursday, leading to possibly hinder the board in their duties to BML with the current number of board members dipping below the required legal minimum, according to local media reports.

The Ibrahim Mohamed Solih administration appointees were informed of their dismissal by the Privatization and Corporatization Board (PCB) on Thursday. The directors who were sacked, including Chairperson Yooshau Saeed, were Juwairiya Saeed, Abdulla Husham Shareef, Abdullah Hassan, and Aishath Sajny.

PCB and BML have so far not commented on the dismissals.

Meanwhile, another Solih administration appointee, Mohamed Sharah, had already resigned his board position at BML, meaning a total of six positions on the BML board are now vacant.

Board members can be removed from office during a general meeting or or extraordinary general meeting (EGM), a reliable source was quoted as confirming to local media — previous administrations had chosen to follow the same protocol. The current action by the PCB, raises legal questions as far as procedure and the legal quorum requirement of the board is concerned, the source is attributed as saying.

While the minimum legal number of board members required for the board to function is eight, the firing of five members, when coupled with the earlier resignation, would only leave five members on the board.

“This is like the board stopping functioning,” the source is quoted as saying on condition of anonymity.

With the firings, the BML board will now consist only of BML’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Karl Stumke; BML’s Deputy CEO, Aishath Noordeen; and three public appointees Ibrahim Mohamed, Abdulla Naseem and Ahmed Mohamed.

According to knowledgeable sources, BML had been refusing to implement the Cabinet decision to increase the card limit for students studying abroad to US$1,200 per month starting 1st of February — a commitment made by President Muizzu during his presidential campaign and reinforced by his Cabinet over a month ago.

BML had insisted that it will be difficult to increase the card limit for transactions abroad due to the dollar supply shortage, sources say as speculation by traders surfaced mere days ago that the bank would stop US Dollar support to telegraphic transfers (TTs) for goods purchases overseas.