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GKD takes Maafaru airport contractor to court

23 December 2018, MVT 14:34
The first test flight to Maafaru International Airport.
23 December 2018, MVT 14:34

GKD Company, subcontractor of Maafaru, Noonu Atoll’s International airport, filed a case at Civil Court, on Sunday, against Tuff Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, the main contractor, for an unpaid amount of over USD 1 million (MVR 15 million).

Singaporean Tuff Company was tasked with developing an international airport on Maafaru during president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration, funded by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). However, instead of completing the project by themselves, Tuff company subcontracted the project over to various corporations, including GKD and others.

Till date, GKD has completed 80 percent of the 2.2 kilometer runway. However, work is currently on hold as Tuff Company owes a large amount of money to the subcontractor.

The report submitted to Civil Court revealed that the contractor failed to pay the dues, despite GKD upholding their end of the agreement and continuing work as planned.

Additionally, the company filed a case against Tuff Pvt Ltd to Maldives Police Service on Saturday, regarding destruction of property.

In a letter sent to the Acting Police Commissioner Mohamed Hameed, GKD stated that Tuff employees had destroyed GKD property and physically assaulted their staff.

In addition, the letter further disclosed that employees of the contracting company have been threatening and terrorizing GKD workers. Similar accusations have been made by other subcontractors of the project as well, including overdue payments, physical assault, theft and property damage.

GKD revealed that their employees are working in a constant state of fear, since no action has yet been taken by any authorities to put an end to Tuff Company’s misconduct.

A case was filed to Maafaru Magistrate Court, requesting to remove all GKD personnel from the site, but the court has yet to notify any employees to vacate the premises. The letter revealed that GKD was attempting to remove their employees from the work site despite the lack of a court order.

The company also revealed that it would suffer irreplaceable financial losses if the machinery and large vehicles currently on site were to be removed. GKD states that the dispute between the two companies began when Tuff was asked to pay their dues.

Due to aforementioned reasons, GKD called for an investigation of Tuff Company Pvt Ltd, and requested protection for their employees. Reportedly, some GKD workers have already been relocated from the island back to Male’.

Furthermore, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently investigating a case related to Maafaru International Airport, focusing on questionable winning of the bid, acquiring unlawful wealth by means of deception, and failing to pay their subcontractors.

Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed, revealed on December 14, that an audit is underway in regard to the airport.

Maafaru International Airport was initially a USD 52 million (MVR 801 million) project, including the establishment of a city hotel and VIP terminal along with the airport. However, the additional developments were axed to ADFD’s request and the final cost of the project was settled at USD 48 million (MVR 740 million). Experts in the field have stated that USD 48 million for an international airport without a VVIP lounge and a city hotel is too expensive.

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