Customs investigates GMR eviction of Alpha MVKB

Maldives Customs Authority has said it will take “necessary legal actions” against GMR, which it claims illegally attempted to vacate Alpha MVKB Duty-Free shop at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), reports local newspaper Haveeru.

Customs is investigating the case, an unidentified senior official reportedly told Haveeru.

After the attempted eviction on December 5, Customs Director Ismail Nashid told Minivan News that goods at duty free shops fall under Customs’ supervision and the “unsold goods can only be taken out of the shops with their permission”.

However, “GMR took out the goods without notifying us,” a separate Customs official told Haveeru today.

GMR directed Minivan to Customs over the issue. Customs did not respond to Minivan’s inquiries at time of press.

GMR began dismantling the Alpha MVKB Duty Free Shop, which sells alcohol, cigarettes, and watches, after “several notices” to vacate the area were “ignored” by the owners, GMR’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mahika Chandrasena earlier told Minivan News.

MVK has meanwhile decided to protest GMR’s management, in spite of rulings from the High and Civil courts that GMR’s termination of its contract with Alpha MVKB Duty-Free was lawful.

The High Court noted that GMR gave notice on March 1 and, as per the agreement, the contract terminated on March 31. As no party could extend the termination notice, the court concluded that MVK had no right to remain at the airport without approval from GMR. Alpha MVKB was originally leased for 10 years under an agreement between MVK and Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), with a one month termination clause, the court noted.