By Nizar Kochery/ Doha
QUESTION: I started a trading and contracting company with some of my friends. We took an office space on lease and started the operation. But business was not good and we soon started facing financial difficulties. I had given my personal cheques to the landlord against the rent for our office. A cheque was dishonoured last month. Can the landlord approach the criminal court over the default? If yes, can I defend myself on any ground? What other actions can the landlord initiate against us?
ANSWER: The cheque is tool of payment and not an instrument of credit which is considered as money and replaces it while paying the obligations. The issuance of cheque without sufficient funds in the account is an offence regardless of the motive for issuing such a cheque. For the dishonour of cheque, the landlord can file criminal case for cheating. The court may order imprisonment for not less than three months and not exceeding three years or a fine of not less than QR3,000 and not more than QR10,000 or both.
The issuance of a cheque without sufficient funds in bad faith is an offence and criminal liability will arise regardless of the reason the cheque was issued. However, the criminal case shall terminate if payment is made or assignment is established after commission of the offence and before a final ruling is made in respect thereof. If this occurs after the ruling became final, its enforcement will be seized.
Furthermore, the landlord can get the property vacated for non-payment of rent by cheque dishonour. As per laws regulating rental relationships tenant is legally obliged to pay rentals in seven days. In the event of non-payment within the said period, the landlord can file a rental case before the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee to claim for rentals for the whole period and termination of the contract.
Loans that are outstanding
Q: One of the partners of a company has left Qatar for good without repaying loans taken from some of his friends. Now they are claiming money from the company in which he has shares. Do they have the right to do that?
A: As per Article 12 of commercial companies’ law, the personal creditor of any partner shall not claim his right from the debtor’s share in the company capital. However, personal creditors shall have right of execution against the debtor’s share of profit, in accordance with the company’s balance sheet. However, on winding up of the company, the personal creditor may recover from the share of the debtor in the company assets after all company debts have been settled. Where the partner’s share is represented by shares, a personal creditor shall have right to demand the sale of shares before the competent court in order to recover his rights out of the sale proceeds.
Law on copyright
Q: What action can be taken legally if a publication uses the work of an author written in another magazine without his consent?
A: Under Article 49 of the Protection of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights, any publisher who publishes a work modifying its intended meaning, nature, subject or title in contradiction to the instructions or wish of the author shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months, or shall be fined not less than QR30,000 and not more than QR50,000 or both. Any action initiated under this law does not bar the author from seeking relief under any other relevant laws.
Settlement of final dues
Q: One of our employees died recently. We repatriated the body, clearing all formalities in co-ordination with the embassy of the country to which the employee belonged to. But the salary and other benefits remain unpaid. What is proper procedure stated in law to disburse the due amounts?
A: According to Article 55 of the labour law, if the worker dies during the employment for whatsoever causes, the employer shall within 15 days from the date of death deposit with the court any wages, gratuity and other entitlements due to the worker attaching a detailed report indicating the method of calculating the sums referred to and a copy of the same shall be delivered to the Labour Department. The court shall distribute the amount among the heirs in accordance with the personal law provisions applicable in the country of the deceased.
*Please send your questions by e-mail: [email protected] (Mobile: 55813105)
LEGAL SYSTEM IN QATAR
According to Article 79, subscription of shares shall be made by a signed application which shall include the number of the shares subscribed for and acceptance of the Article of Association and basic statute. The applicant shall also mention the place of residence in the state and other necessary details. The subscription should be absolute and not conditional; any condition made by the subscriber in the application shall be void.
The subscriber shall submit the request for subscription to the bank and pay the instalments against a receipt signed by bank stating the name, address of the subscriber, the date of subscription, the number of subscribed shares, and the paid up instalments. The subscription shall be final upon obtaining the receipt by the subscriber.
As per Article 80, a printed copy of the Articles of Association shall be given to every subscriber and this is affixed in the receipt of subscription. Any interested party, may obtain during the period of subscription, a printed copy of the company’s article of association free of charge, or for a reasonable fee determined by the subscription bulletin.
The bank shall keep all the funds paid by the shareholders to account of the company under incorporation and it shall not be handed over except to the Board of directors after the declaration of establishing the company and entry in the commercial register.
According to Article 82, the subscription shall remain open for a period not less than two weeks and not more than four weeks. If all the shares available for the subscription are not subscribed within the fixed period, the founders may, with the approval of the ministry, extend the period for not more than two weeks. If the offered shares were not subscribed in full at the end of the specified period, the founders shall abstain from incorporating the company or reduce its capital by the quantity not subscribed for, in compliance with the provisions of this law.
As per Article 83, if the establishment of the company was not successful, the founders have to fully pay back the money paid by the subscribers within one week from the date specified for completion of subscription. Founders shall be jointly responsible for paying back such amounts and the expenses paid for the incorporation of the company. They shall be responsible towards the third parties for their acts during the establishment period.
In case of capital reduction of the company, the subscribers have the right to withdraw their subscription within a period not less than the initial subscription period from the date of notification in two local newspapers, of which one shall be in Arabic language, and on the website of the company, if any. If they fail to withdraw the subscription within the said period, the subscription shall be considered final.
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