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Maafaru International Airport under audit

Ahmed Aiham
16 December 2018, MVT 20:47
Maafaru International Airport situated in Noonu Atoll. PHOTO: REGIONAL AIRPORTS
Ahmed Aiham
16 December 2018, MVT 20:47

Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed, on Friday, revealed that an audit is underway in regards to the highly controversial Maafaru International Airport developed in Noonu Atoll.

Speaking at a press conference held in Rasdhoo, Alif Alif Atoll, Minister Waheed stated that the ministry will be auditing cases of public interest such as the leasing of the 25-storey Nasandhura Hotel and other issues along with the Airport.

The minister added that while certain information needs to be audited, a fair amount of information has already been audited.

Minister Waheed stated that the findings of the Ministry will be submitted to the Attorney General's Office in the following week.

According to recently leaked documents, the company accumulated benefits amounting to millions of US dollars.

The airport is being funded by United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a gift and initially included a V.I.P terminal and a city hotel. The project was handed over to Singaporean Tuff Pvt Ltd by the recently defeated President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, on December 24, 2017.

Although Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) handed over a sum of USD 52 million to Tuff Pvt Ltd as per the initial agreement. The company later requested an additional USD 18 million.

The Singaporean company cited the airport development, exempt of the additional facilities, as costing approximately USD 48 million.

Experts in the field have stated that USD 48 million for an international airport without a V.I.P lounge and a city hotel is too expensive but that the figure is sufficient for an airport with these facilities combined.

One of the major accusations currently faced by the Singaporean company is the failure to pay the companies that were subcontracted for the development of the airport.

Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating the corruption case of the Maafaru International Airport by looking into Tuff's failure to hand over the money owed to the subcontractors and embezzlement of funds.

Furthermore, ACC revealed that the commission had requested to temporarily withhold depositing money to the company, although under President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration, an additional USD 1 million was deposited to the company,

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