GMR dismantles Alpha duty-free

GMR officials yesterday began to physically remove the Alpha MVKB Duty Free Shop at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) after “several notices” to vacate the area were “ignored”, according to GMR’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mahika Chandrasena.

MVKB shop assistant Mohamed Nishwan told local newspaper Haveeru that GMR officials entered the shop around 2:00pm and began packing goods into boxes. They also began disassembling temporary wooden walls which were erected in late November to signify that the shop, which sells alcohol, cigarettes, and watches, was closed.

Customs officers arrived at 4:00pm to stop the disassembly, Haveeru reports.

Chandrasena said the shop’s owner had ignored numerous notices to vacate  the premises, to the point that that they were blocking development at INIA.

“The gentleman was supposed to vacate by a certain date and he didn’t. We had to close the shop because we have deadlines to re-vamp the duty free area. GMR gave him a lot of time and postponed the deadline several times, but he refused to leave and we had to physically remove the shop.”

Chandrasena said she understood that Customs intervened because of the presence of alcohol among the shop’s stock. “They needed to make sure it didn’t leak into Male’. That’s Customs’ purview,” she said.

One area of the shop has been vacated but GMR is now waiting for the shop owner to remove the rest.

“This is nothing to do with him personally, but we have deadlines we need to meet on our renovation,” said Chandrasena.

GMR’s action was supported by a ruling from the Civil Court, however Alpha MVKB had appealed the ruling in the High Court.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said police supported customs officials in the operation.

“We advised GMR to follow Customs’ procedures. There was some dispute but no confrontation,” he said.

Customs Director Ismail Nashid could only confirm that the contents of a duty-free shop were under Customs’ purview and that any disagreement over the shop was between Alpha MVKB and the landlord, GMR.

“Duty-free goods are Customs’ responsibility, and we will be involved in the process of opening or closing duty-free shops,” he said. “As for the goods involved, there are several options for the shop owner to choose from including importing the stock to the Maldives or selling it internationally.”

Nashid confirmed that the shop is not currently in operation, but said the decision to remove the shop from the airport would be made by GMR.

Alpha MVKB Managing Director Ibrahim ‘MVK’ Shafeeq today told Haveeru that GMR’s management style was “dictatorial” and “backed by someone.”

“We’re now seeing a foreign party trying to overtake us. How can they enter duty free shops like that and take out the goods? It shows that they have the power and that they’re operating with backing from someone,” he said.

The airport renovation is the single largest foreign investment in the Maldives at US$400 million. GMR is upgrading the old terminal ahead of completing construction of the new terminal in 2014, and will operate the airport for 25 years under a concession agreement signed last year with the government.


16 thoughts on “GMR dismantles Alpha duty-free”

  1. Investment $400 Million. Airport Development Fee $25 per departing passenger. Total collection over 25 years $1.4 Billion. Nett Profit over 25 years $1.0 Billion ($40 million annually.

  2. I was wondering when this would happen 🙂 enjoy the production we like to call life home hasnt changed for me I doubt it ever will. so Anni is rights let pack up and leave and start over

  3. A duty free shop selling alcohol in the 100% islamic republic of Maldives?.................haraam, haraam, haraam. Better to replace it with a prayer room so the mullahs can pray before they fly............

  4. INIA...? Lets put Dhivehi in there and call it Ibrahim Nasir Dhivehi International Airport or INDIA for short...

  5. My statement to the powers that be, I can safely say I been back in Maldives roughly, What has changed The so called voice of Maldives is a free one now... I am proud to say that I have helped make it happen ...

    As for the mentality of people of Maldives that has not changed ... I have rested a year with my grand mother.. which I will always treasure ...... I returned knowing that what I did was right I was welcomed back in to city with rough shuffles in my own neighborhood yet I know I have done nothing wrong so I am here ...

    If it was up to me of how we resolve with this situation peacefully ... I would step aside out of the way progress ...
    if it means the citizens of Maldives will have brighter future.... I would move my immediate Family to Suadi Arabia for they will have their freedom and a new/old plots of land which used to be Waguff ...

    so Why Saudi you ask? its where such things like Waguff will be given proper value As for the family Business and all the jobs it has I would ask them leave and find other jobs seeing I would not go against a government I helped put in place ...
    thus If it means the people of the Maldives will have a better life with out me and my family ... then lets start over else where...

    why not stand and fight ? I have spent my whole life in a political war that has not shown me any justice thus far non that lasts any way

    For give me

    Mr Nasheed if this hurts you but I would rather leave peacefully than see old friends be come enemies these are my views and my views alone they don't include my fathers yet I will still help you rebuild the country from a far

    after all a Promise is a Promise no matter how ancient it is ...

    so if you want any us to leave please say so and we will at least i will if you want us to be the pioneers of starting "Maldivian Colony" else where Do not Hesitate to ask me or my father rest assured I will comply peacefully I cant speak for my father though...

  6. this is not right!!! they are like tyrants plundering villages. What notice they have given, furthermore. there must be talk ahead.

  7. GMR sucks big time! This is one reason I am definitely not going to vote for Anni in 2013. I am hoping that if the current opposition comes to power, they would kick these guys out!

  8. Where are all the political parties ready to criticise every single action of GMR now? Are they afraid of being labelled anti-islamic for defending a shop that sells alcohol?

    Hypocrites, every single one of them.

  9. Not supporting GMR but MVK really cant complain. Without going through a proper bidding process MVK "won" the rights to "develop" Dhoogas in Addu and is the sole conductor for the Male' and Addu the bus route. So boo hoo mr. Shafeeq.

  10. That foto is misleading, it is just a rendering of an imaginary, conceptual space that does not exist in reality. It certainly is not a foto of the airport

  11. MVK has the right to exhaust all the levels of the legal process. GMR unilaterally removing someone elses property, which is under Customs purview is irresponsible and illegal. If you do business you have to follow the laws of that country.
    Eleanor Johnston, Airport renovation is not a foreign invetment it is being financed by a development charge of USD25 levied on departing passangers.

  12. "The airport renovation is the single largest foreign investment in the Maldives at US$400 million".

    I suggest you correct above statement. The airport renovation is funded by travellers who are using the airport by paying $25 per head. Next hour there will be a charge as $5 towards GMR profit.

  13. Minivan News article regarding Alpha Mvkb and siding GMR does not seems to reflect the truth of the matter. it would have been wiser for Minivan News to verify from Alpha Mvkb before writing from my knowledge. Alpha Mvkb has always insisted to show alternative place to go because they have already once vacated one premises for GMR to enable continue doing their renovation work. please as a foreigner Madam Eleanor Johnstone please respect the rights of local people.

  14. It's a good thing that MVK is suffering here. In fact, MVK doesn't hold the right to use the name ALPHA anymore! These MVK people have been trying to BOSS around for too long. Maybe the owner still feels that funding MDP would keep him from doing just about anything any time. GMR just proved you wrong, mr. Ibrahim shafeeg!
    Lay down your arrogance, and surrender!


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