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Main opposition condemns selling islands, lagoons without bid

Fathmath Shaahunaz
02 November 2016, MVT 12:23
MDP supporters pictured during an anti-government protest. PHOTO/MDP SECRETARIAT
Fathmath Shaahunaz
02 November 2016, MVT 12:23

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) declared late Tuesday that in an MDP government, all transactions of islands and lagoons without a bidding process would be probed and all unlawful dealings of state assets terminated.

MDP released its statement condemning the government’s decision on Tuesday to put up eleven islands and two lagoons, including Kaafu atoll’s Feydhoo Finolhu island used for Maldives Police Service activities and Fushidhiggaru lagoon which was previously sold to a foreign firm, for sale without a bidding process for resort development.

The state is expected to receive a revenue of MVR 2.8 billion from the sales.

Noting that the government had earlier signed a contract with a foreign company over Fushidhiggaru lagoon in 2013, the opposition declared that the state’s decision to sell the lagoon again without clarifying the situation of its previous agreement indicates the government’s continual spiral into corruption.

Religiously conservative Adhaalath Party also condemned the state’s decision, which contravenes the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC)’s previous order to halt the lagoon handover.

The Maldives had previously signed to form a joint venture company with Singapore firm D Prime Capital to develop Fushidhiggaru lagoon as a special tourism zone in 2013. However, ACC had halted the handover last March, ordering the tourism ministry to hold the lagoon until its full acquisition cost has been paid.

Recalling the Maldives’ largest corruption scandal involving Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC)’s embezzlement of MVR 1.2 billion from the state via island leases, MDP noted that the government has yet to recompense any of the stolen money, and urged citizens against holding out hope for integrity in such state sanctioned transactions.

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