Government targeting Gasim unfairly, says MDP Vice President

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Vice President Mohamed Shifaz told VTV last night that Maldivians should not wait and watch while the government targeted the Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim’s businesses.

Shifaz said that Gasim had contributed greatly to the nation and that he was diligent when it came to paying required taxes to the state.

“If we ignore these things today, there would not be a country tomorrow and the citizens would have nowhere to go and no one to turn to for help,” he told the station, owned by Gasim’s Villa Group.

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) on March 1 ordered Gasim’s Villa Group to pay pay the state US$100 million within 30 days.

Gasim is currently contesting MIRA’s order. The government said Villa owed the state money in rent and fines for several islands and lagoons leased to the company.

Also speaking on VTV yesterday, the JP’s legal secretary, Imad Solih, said that Gasim had received the ‘Ran Laari’ award in 2014, given in recognition of those who pay the highest amount in taxes to the state.

“A single opinion causes the entire degradation of an airport and a simple political stand results in the seizing of assets. Is this justice and equality?” asked Imad.