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Maldives to appeal order to return island seized over hidden weapons

Fathmath Shaahunaz
12 January 2017, MVT 16:29
B.Hibalhidhoo. PHOTO/GOOGLE
Fathmath Shaahunaz
12 January 2017, MVT 16:29

The Maldives government has decided to appeal the Civil Court’s order to give back the island of Hibalhidhoo in Baa atoll to its initial owner, Business Maldives Company, after the state seized the island upon discovering a hidden stash of weapons and explosives.

Hibalhidhoo was awarded by the state to Business Maldives until the government terminated their contract last year over weapons and explosives found stashed in the island in November 2015. They were discovered during the investigation into the explosion aboard the presidential speedboat “Finifenma” in September 2015. The stash included weapons stolen from the state military armoury.

Business Maldives had filed a lawsuit to get the island back and the Civil Court had ruled in their favour, stating 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.

Deputy Attorney General Ahmed Usham proclaimed on Thursday that the state is preparing to appeal the case. The appeal has not been filed at the High Court yet.

The main suspect behind the weapons and explosives hidden in Hibalhidhoo is Allam “Moho” Latheef, who was formerly s a stakeholder of Business Maldives and is currently on the run from law.

According to the Civil Court’s verdict, the government’s reason for terminating the contract is Business Maldives’ failure to pay the acquisition cost of the island to the state.

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