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High Court declines to stop handover of Maafaru airport

Fathmath Shaahunaz
17 May 2017, MVT 14:57
High Court of Maldives PHOTO:Nishan Ali/Mihaaru
Fathmath Shaahunaz
17 May 2017, MVT 14:57

The High Court on Tuesday upheld the Civil Court’s verdict in the lawsuit filed by local firm Millennium Capital Management, stating that the court cannot ban the government from awarding development of the domestic airport in Noonu atoll Maafaru island to other companies.

The government had originally awarded development of Maafaru airport to Millennium Capital Management Pvt Ltd, which belongs to local capitalist Hamid Ismail who is currently convicted of embezzlement. However, the government later terminated the agreement over contract violations.

Millennium Capital had filed a lawsuit at the Civil Court requesting to halt the government from handing over Maafaru airport to other firms until the case is closed. However, the Civil Court ruled that it cannot issue such an order, prompting the company to appeal the case.

The High Court on Tuesday upheld the lower court’s verdict, stating that Millennium Capital had failed to construct the airport in accordance with the contract. The court also noted that Millennium Capital had admitted that development cannot be finished on time and, thus, there is no apparent fumus boni iurus for the court to provide the requested guarantee to the company.

The verdict further highlighted that the interests of the state in the Maafaru airport agreement currently outweigh the interests of Millennium Capital.

Meanwhile, the government last month awarded development of Maafaru airport to Sun Siyam Resorts, a company of which ruling coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA)’s leader Ahmed Siyam is a stakeholder. The agreement states that Sun Siyam Resorts must complete development within two years. The new airport will feature a runway of 1,800 metres and capacity to service six jets simultaneously.

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