The Civil Court on Tuesday ordered the Maldives government to give back the island of Hibalhidhoo in Baa atoll to its initial owner, Business Maldives Company, after the island was seized over a hidden stash of weapons.
The company had filed the lawsuit against the state to get the island back after it was seized upon discovering weapons and explosives hidden in Hibalhidhoo during the investigation into the explosion aboard the presidential speedboat "Finifenma" in September 2015. The stash included weapons stolen from the state military armory.
In the verdict read by Judge Mohamed Haleem, it declared that the government’s notice to terminate Business Maldives' ownership of the island violated their agreement and, hence, the island must be given back to the company within a period of 30 days.
The main suspect behind the weapons and explosives is Allam "Moho" Latheef, who was formerly s a stakeholder of Business Maldives and is currently on the run from law. He is also notably a close friend of Former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Gafoor, who is jailed over orchestrating the speedboat blast in an attempt to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
The Maldives government has since launched a manhunt on Interpol to capture Latheef.