Finance Ministry asked to sell resorts with outstanding rent payment notices

The Tourism Ministry has requested the Finance Ministry enforce a cabinet decision to recover outstanding rent and fines from seven resorts, either through further negotiation or sale of the resort properties.

Tourism Minister Dr Mariyam Zulfa confirmed to Minivan News that a letter was sent to the Finance Ministry on Tuesday, requesting that it “take the measures decided by cabinet as the period [for repayment] has expired, that is to sell the resorts or recover the amounts owed through discussions.”

As 90-day notices had been given to resorts with unpaid rent on two occasions, said Zulfa, the delays were “a bit too much.” Last month the Tourism Ministry issued “a final warning” to ten resorts to settle at least 25 percent of the amounts owed before July 25 or have their licenses revoked. Three resorts have since complied with the notice.

The Tourism Minister revealed that she had argued against revoking licenses because it would “narrow the chance” of recovering the outstanding rents.

“Also when licenses are revoked, the resort has to be closed down immediately regardless of advance bookings, guests already at the resort and employees working there,” she explained, adding that as the resorts would be sold as a going concern, it would continue to operate.

In addition, different resort businesses faced “different challenges, such as financial constraints.”

“I know that from the day we gave notice [the resort companies] have been trying to raise the money overseas,” she continued. “But we cannot give further extensions as it would not be fair to others as well.”

Zulfa observed that the notices have been “very effective”, as a number of resort facilities had complied and paid outstanding rents and fines.

“As of July 25, the government is now owed US$12.47 million,” she revealed, adding that the figure was “considerably lower” than before.

Local media reported last month that the resort facilities owed over US$20 million to the state.

Zulfa dismissed speculation in the media at the time that the resorts had been afforded special treatment as some were owned by high-profile members of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), including MP Ahmed Hamza and Yacht Tours owner Abdulla Jabir.

The letter to the Finance Ministry however requested measures be taken against Alidhoo and Kudarah Resorts (Yacht Tours), Giraavaru Island Resort (owned by Abdul Rauf, M. Sunrose), Kihaadhupparu Island Resort (Athamaa Marine International) and Zitali, Filitheyo and Medhufushi (owned by the family of MP Hamza and Economic Advisor to the President Ali Shiyam).

“It is just a coincidence,” said Zulfa. “My mandate is to vouch on behalf of all stakeholders regardless of which party they belong to.”

Local daily Haveeru reported today that according to the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA), a portion of the outstanding rents and fines had been paid by the companies. However MIRA would not be withdrawing its court cases against the resorts.

Commissioner General of Taxation Yazeed Mohamed told local media last month that MIRA “will not back down” or hesitate to take legal measures against businesses with outstanding rent and fines.

Zulfa said today that the Tourism Ministry would meet MIRA officials next week to discuss the possibility of reaching out of court settlements to recover the owed amounts.

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16 thoughts on “Finance Ministry asked to sell resorts with outstanding rent payment notices”

  1. Typical show by President Nasheed's ministers. Zulfa would know that the government cannot sell resorts that have been leased to third parties. If she wanted to recover the money she would have sent the matter to court and not to Finance Ministry.

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  2. @RZ, Zulfa is still new to the system and once she gets initiated into the real political game, she wouldnt utter a word! Give her some time.

    ....what the public needs to know is that, most of these resort owners tried to lead a life beyond imagination.
    * they borrowed stupidly
    * overpaid foreign managers
    * extravagant wives and posh living
    * travelled business class to all fairs
    * write with mont blanc and wear designer names
    * have strings of concubines and 'wives'
    * fake muslims
    * and NEVER helped their own people..

    Well president nasheed cant help them this time and gayooms corruption channels are closed. Time to pay or be bought out is the only option

    Foreign investors of these island must be assured and guaranteed their investment but the local owners should face justice.

    This is governments and public money and no one is above the law NOW, maybe before. Its time up and these goons must either pay or ask Champa & Universal to buy them out....see how shaveed survived by selling of Vilamendoo and Rani?

    Never did these people think that one day they will be broke, loose their wives, and go back to their islands?

    Justice is what we need.

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  3. Maldivians are a petty lot. How they snivel and grovel at the feet of the rich and well-to-do of the society should they want some favour. Yet they wait for a moment when the rich who got rich through years of hard work are at a slight disadvantage, and then how they run in for the kill, hollering for their blood. I am appalled at the amount of bitterness and hatred that consumes this society. There is no love lost even between kin. In your blind bitterness and ignorance you could not grasp that the rich got rich through their own hard work and acumen and you losers were either just too retarded or too lazy to work and toil. And when you see the hardworking people reaping the fruits of their sweat and labour and living their jetset life, getting themselves educated, achieving their goals and rising higher and higher, you sloths just can't help but turn a sickly green. Not everyone can build a world-class hotel from a virgin tropical island. It takes a lot of vision, dreams, hardwork, sweat, tireless pursuit, worries, management, organizing and know-how. I salute the rich for getting to where they are today. I only have great respect for them and I wish the young people of our society are inspired by the grand example they have set. Nothing is impossible if you have vision and hope. But nothing is possible when you have bitterness and hatred.

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  4. hey Susan. don't try to teach us tourism. I was practically born to it. and yes these so called resort 'barons' did not get there by their acumen or hardwork or whatever. They were installed there by their political masters. Remember the trade minister Yameen in Maumoon's administration? That guy made Jabir (of JResorts) a resort owner. The three AAA clan made their fortune by themselves with friendship and blessing of the same govt. Want to know about Buruma Gasim? He was created by Ilyas another finance minister in another era? Remember him?
    Want to know more? About kolige clan? Though they have grown a little bit by the time Maumoon took office, they were also helped, propped up and kept afloat by the government. All govt dignitaries and diplomats and basically anyone the govt takes in as a guest goes to KV. Don't talk about favouritism because Bandos is closer than KV.

    In a nutshell, if you give me that kind of money and support these so called resort owners got from successive govts, i can single-handedly develop all the uninhibited islands of this country as 5 class resorts! so don't say bla bla about ppl being bitter and that these rich resort owners need further sympathy. if they need anything they need a healthy dose of scorn from ppl for their association with corruption.

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  5. @susan

    You are a good example of those who justify ill gotten wealth. You know very well that most resort owners did not make it honestly and the tourism industry has set 7 stars standards of corruption. But you are very right in saying that bitterness and hatred should not have a place in society. The fact of the matter is that after 40 years of up-market tourism, it only now that Maldivains are getting some benefit of their own assets.

    You seem like a reasonable and a balanced person. Why not also talk about the things that tourism industry has failed, such as steering the economy in the right direction, good corporate governance and training people. People know the truth and unless people like you stop insulting Maldivians intelligence with your one sided views, bitterness and hatred would naturally be there. Please read what 'Real' has written above too.

    As a democracy, the fate of Maldives tourism is dependent on the Maldivain people and no longer solely a 'resort puppet Government'. That realization has to sink in sooner rather than later.

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  6. The criminals and drug addicts get a second chance to live and prove themselves liable to live in the society again, thus released from the prison by our president.But the resort owners do not get a second chance, you either pay immediately or your years of hard work would be ripped off immediately. This is not democracy. This is Mafia style ruling.

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  7. @susan what a naive person you are! After going through your comments I felt that you have no knowledge of the background so called hardworking rich resorts owners. Please make sure when you accuse you should have the thorough knowledge of what you are stating.
    Susan, name the resort owner and I will tell you how he got the resort.

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  8. Hello friends

    Do you really believe if somebody is given millions of dollars that he will become a succesful businessman! Sorry I don't think. Just give a real thought and look around you. Does most of the RICH parents end with RICH kids. NO. At the end the KIDS sell all the properties dhoa!!!!!Just a thought.

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  9. I think it is time to mandate the wealth and debt of Majlis members. If they don't want to release this information they can resign from the chamber. We have to force these guys to come out with the figures. We must ask each candidate to tell us what they are worth before running for the seat again. Anni must push this issue to safe guard us from official corruption.

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  10. I like Susan's view - so many lazy buggers in this country, hey if you lot were such hard workers why is the country filled with over 100,00 migrant workers!! Because the youth today are more interested in getting their hair permed and poncing around on their little mopeds! LMFAO!

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  11. @Dave Jones,

    100,000 migrant workers can be easily replaced by Maldivains if you pay them well and provide good conditions instead of being greedy. Would you do that? Of-course not.

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  12. i doubt they will act as what they were told. typical mdp propaganda to hide the truth to the public.

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  13. the country is flooded with expats cos those who did the importing did it fraudulently, not that dhivehi kids are lazy... keep up with the news ppl. skip a few back issues in minivan and get to the story of the this organised human trafficking network busted by police only a month back..

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  14. @correction, 100'000 labourers from the neighboring countries..and you think theybcan be replaced by simply paying Maldivians more? I cannot help, but disagree with you on this. How can you pay well while they not have the ncessary skills? To reolve the isssue of foreign labourers in the country, there needs to be a change of attitude.parents need to realize that finishing tenth grade does not make your kid a scientist and they cannot earn an income of an office executive.

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