Sri Lanka's Browns Hotels announces the construction of two resorts in the Maldives.
In a statement given to Sri Lankan news media 'Ada Derana Biz', Browns Hotels revealed that, together with their project of developing Nasandhura Palace Hotel in Male city, the company is also nearing completion of their resort near Maamigili, Alifu Dhaalu.
The land where Nasandhura Palace Hotel stood, annexed with additional acres, was leased out by the government to NPH Investments for a period of fifty years. The development project for this large plot of land is carried out as a joint venture by NPH Investment in affiliation with Browns Hotels.
The project includes two 14-storey towers consisting of 150 guest rooms and 150 apartments. Additionally, the company also has plans to build a retail mall on the ground floor of these two towers combined.
Browns Hotels estimates that the two towers, with its fruition, will become exemplary landmarks of development within the greater Male area.
Furthermore, Browns Investment has also invested in the construction of a resort in Bodufarufinolhu, Alifu Dhaalu.
According to Browns Hotels, the resort will feature 100 villas under six different categories. In addition, Browns confirms that the plans to build another resort adjacent to Bodufarufinolhu also consisting of 100 villas.
Currently, Browns Investments owns six leisure properties in Sri Lanka.
However, the Auditor General of Maldives Hassan Ziyath has expressed concern regarding the legality of the leasing of Nasandura Palace Hotel.
According to the Ziyath, the government receives no payments for the land. He revealed that the leased land involved the inclusion of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) component. However, Ziyath states that the details of said CSR are lacking and that the matter should be looked into closely. Reportedly, the construction of the two towers was carried out without the necessary agreements in place, nor had any bids been made for the investment.
According to the audit report investigating corruption within the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), the previously subsisting agreement of Nasandhura Palace Hotel was nullified by the Ministry of Tourism on January 27, 2015. A new agreement was subsequently signed the same day, authorizing the land of Nasandhura Palace Hotel as well as the neighbouring Orchid Lodge, Henveiru to MMPRC.
Opposition parties have called for a thorough investigation of the dubious leasing of this land, adding that should the opposition come to power any illegal assigning of land will be instantly nullified.
The issuing of Nasandhura Palace Hotel's development to NPH investment, resulted in Ministry of Finance and Treasury calling for former Vice president Ahmed Adeeb to pay the ministry a total amount of MVR 74 million. The claim was afterward nullified.