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RIX’s human trafficking case forwarded to PG in December: Police

Shahudha Mohamed
12 January 2021, MVT 19:06
Public interest law Center/ B. Bodufinolhu
Shahudha Mohamed
12 January 2021, MVT 19:06

Maldives Police Service, on Tuesday, revealed that the human trafficking case against RIX Company Pvt Ltd was forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office on December 3, 2020.

Although it has been over a month since the case was submitted, the PG Office has yet to press charges against the company at court.

RIX Maldives, a company owned by the parliamentary representative for Shaviyani Atoll's Milandhoo constituency, Ali Riza, was contracted by Seal Maldives in 2019 for the development of Bodufinolhu, Baa Atoll, as a luxury resort.

Earlier in July 2020, 203 expatriate workers in Bodufinolhu protested over one a half years of unpaid wages and held 13 local staff from leaving the island. Police arrested 19 individuals amid the operation to de-escalate the hostage situation.

The Labour Relations Authority (LRA) also identified a lack of collaboration by RIX Pvt Ltd, stating that the company had failed to credit the six months of unpaid salaries to its expatriate workers as instructed before July 30.

However, RIX's legal representatives have denied receiving any letters from LRA and instead asserted that the company had addressed a letter to the authority, stating that the issue could only be resolved by the Employment Tribunal.

RIX has maintained its initial assertions that Seal Maldives was legally required to pay salaries as per agreements between the two companies, and that RIX was only assigned a management role concerning the workers. The contractor claimed that delays in crediting salaries were caused by Seal Maldives' failure to make payments.

The developer countered with a statement noting that it made payments in addition to those mandated by agreements and accused RIX of neglect, stating that there was no reason preventing the contractor from paying its workers. Seal Maldives also asserted that RIX was mandated to cover insurance, healthcare and Visa application costs in addition to monthly salaries.

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