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Business Maldives to Supreme Court over Hibalhidhoo seizure

Fathmath Shaahunaz
19 January 2021, MVT 19:05
B.Hibalhidhoo: Business Maldives have appealed the government's seizure of the island from the company, at the Supreme Court.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
19 January 2021, MVT 19:05

Business Maldives Pvt Ltd appealed the High Court's verdict that the government's seizure of Hibalhidhoo, Baa Atoll, from the company was lawful.

The island was leased to Business Maldives by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) for a period of 50 years when the government terminated the contract in 2016, after a stash of weapons and explosives were discovered on Hibalhidhoo during the state investigation into the explosion aboard the presidential speedboat 'Finifenma'.

The official reason cited for the state's seizure of Hibalhidhoo was the company's failure to pay the acquisition fee of USD 3 million.

Business Maldives had filed a lawsuit at the Civil Court which ruled in their favour in 2017, stating that the government’s notice to terminate the company's ownership of Hibalhidhoo violated their agreement.

Although the state was ordered to return the island to the company, the Civil Court did not enforce it as the government had decided to appeal the case.

In 2019, the High Court overturned the Civil Court verdict, stating that the contract termination was lawful.

Following Business Maldives' appeal, the Supreme Court is scheduled to commence hearings next week.

The discovery of the weapons stash on Hibalhidhoo had led to terrorism charges against former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb, along with a number of other high profile individuals. However, the court later threw out the charges.

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