The Singaporean company that ran Loama Resort in Raa atoll Maamigili island has been accused of "fleeing" without paying millions in collectible payments to several local companies.
Mihaaru is aware that the resort was previously run by ‘Loama Maamigili Resort and Spa Pvt Ltd’, and the majority shareholder of this company was ‘Maldives Resort Development Pvt Ltd’, another company registered in Singapore. The management of Loama was led by Singaporean businessman Goh Ching Huat.
Due to financial issues faced by the resort, its sublease was sold at the end of last year. By then, there were due payments of up to USD 5 million (MVR 77 million) owed to over 140 local companies.
When the local companies went to court over the matter and sued, the court had even ordered the company to pay the due amounts. Relevant actions were also pursued to make sure that the Singapore-based company followed through with the verdict, a source told Mihaaru on the condition of anonymity.
Although the sublease rights of Loama Resort has been sold, local companies have appealed not to sell the resort until all due payments have been settled. However, the source told Mihaaru that the resort's ownership was being sold after ‘Maldives Resort Development Pvt Ltd’ had settled its due payments to the state, Bank of Maldives, and two aviation companies, Trans Maldivian Aviation (TMA) and Island Aviation.
An official from one of the companies suing Loama said that when the lawsuit was filed, they were told that after selling the sublease of the resort, they would be paid from the profits made by selling the lease. However, the official said that none of the profits that were made from the transaction was deposited to a locally-operated bank. The official said that they have also lodged a complaint at the police asking to investigate why the cheques issued by Loama frequently bounce.
There are no regulations on how to acquire debts after selling the sublease of a resort. The existing regulations state that if the head lease is being sold, then all prior debts must be settled.
Mihaaru is aware that passports of two directors of the resort were also held in relation to the unpaid debt issue.
While several Maldivian companies were faced with massive losses due to the company's negligence, there was a local director at the company which is under scrutiny from creditors who are demanding their money back. The Maldivian director of the company did not want his identity revealed to the public.
Mihaaru was unable to get a comment from Loama Maamigili Resort and Spa in relation to the incident.