Authorities, on Sunday, withheld the passport of David Stepetic, General Manager of Gili Lanakanfushi Maldives resort in Kaafu Atoll, over an ongoing investigation regarding the dredging of a sandbank in Kaafu Atoll.
According to police, the court was requested for an order to withhold Stepetic's passport on Saturday night, and all relevant authorities were informed of the order once the court had issued it.
Last Thursday, Residents from Kaafu Atoll’s Himmafushi island, along with the support of Maldives Police Service, intercepted and shut down a group from Gili Lankanfushi Resort while they were digging a trench on a nearby sandbank.
According to Mohamed Imthiyaz, a local guesthouse owner, the resort’s efforts to destroy the sandbank was driven by General Manager of Gili Lankanfushi David Stepetic.
A video depicting the altercation was circulated across numerous social media platforms shortly after the event, inciting anger from the public at the presumed destruction of the country’s natural environment as well as the suggested intolerance towards local customs.
Stepetic is also seen in the video partaking in the sandbank trip. Nevertheless, when asked by the videographer to explain the group’s activities, he is not shown, nor can he be heard, issuing an answer.
Gili Lankanfushi Resort (Lankanfushi Island) is located in the same lagoon as Himmafushi.