Local newspaper Haveeru reported that three board of directors of Victorious Travels and Tours – Aishath Alima of Machangoalhi Binmatheege, Thohira Hussein of Falhogasdhashuge/Dhaal atoll Kudahuvadhoo and Shaheedha Zakariya of Alivaage/Baa atoll Eydhafushi, had lodged three lawsuits against Thasmeen seeking compensation totaling more that Rf5.4 million (US$420,000) in a dispute over Kabaalifaru island in Kaaf Atoll.
According to Haveeru, the three women alleged the island was sold to Thasmeen under an agreement between him and Ali Shareef of Machangoalhi Anaavilla, who won the bid through Victorious Travel and Tours.
The travel agency demanded Shareef pay the amount received from the sale of the resort to the company, however in 2007 the company resolved to bill Thasmeen, Haveeru noted.
Thasmeen’s lawyer Ahmed Faiz told the newspaper that his client denied the charges and no agreement was made with the women.
‘’The articles on several media outlets lack information,’’ said Nihan. ‘’It does not mention the percentage of share those persons owned, and it’s very confusing.’’
Newspaper Miadhu reported that the plaintiffs owned 25 percent of the company.
Nihan said that although the matter was being touted as front page news, “the story is not really that sensitive an issue.”
Thasmeen said that as the case was now logged in court, he would not comment without the advice of his lawyers.
‘’My lawyers will issue a statement regarding the issue,’’ he added.
This is not the first time Thasmeen has been been taken to the civil court for unpaid debts.
On January 31 this year, People’s Alliance (PA) leader Abdulla Yameen filed a court case against Thasmeen for debts of US$100,000, two days after Thasmeen was elected uncontested to leadership of the DRP.
At the time the DRP quashed speculation that the DRP-PA coalition was under strain, however Yameen spoke to newspaper Miadhu claiming the elections process within the DRP was “not free and fair”, and that it was undemocratic that the party’s leader should be automatically selected without an election. Miadhu noted that Yameen’s own party had elected him as leader uncontested.
Furthermore, in a Bank of Maldives audit report released in January 2009, revealed that 60 percent of the US$633 million worth of loans issued in 2008 were granted to 12 parties.
According to the report, US$45 million was granted to Sultans of the Seas and US$36 million to Fonnadhoo Tuna Products, which comprised 13 per cent of the total loan amount in 2008.
The report noted that Fonaddhoo was owned by Thasmeen, while the owners of Sultans of the Seas were “closely associated” with the DRP leader.
Former Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem, who was recently dismissed in a no-confidence motion by the DRP-majority parliament, claimed at the time that defaults on bank loans issued to influential political players “could jeopardise the entire financial system of the country.”