Parliament considers stricter traffic rules

Parliament has accepted for consideration two bills seeking to double fines for traffic violations and make it mandatory to wear helmets.

Amendments to the land vehicles law submitted by MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik to raise fines was accepted with 46 votes in favour at yesterday’s sitting and sent to the economic affairs committee for review.

The independent MP proposed imposing a fine of MVR1,000 for speeding in addition to impounding the vehicle for 30 days, and suspending the driver’s license for 90 days.

The bill also proposed a MVR1,500 fine for a second speeding offence, MVR2,000 for a third offence, and MVR1,000 for illegal parking.

Moosa also proposed raising fines for failing to pay annual fees and driving a motorcycle with expired registration.

The bill also states that it will be illegal for children under 10 to ride bicycles on the road.

Progressive Party of Maldives MP Riyaz Rasheed meanwhile proposed making it mandatory to wear helmets while riding motorcycles. Riyaz’s amendments were accepted with 47 votes in favour and also sent to the economic affairs committee for review.

The legislation was submitted in the wake of several fatal accidents in Addu City.


Police to destroy all vehicles not reclaimed within three months

Police have announced they will destroy all vehicles towed over the past five years, unless owners pay the relevant fines and reclaim their vehicles within the next three months, reports local media.

Owners will have to pay 250 MVR (US $16) for the initial offence, 500 MVR (US $32) for the second offence, and 750 MVR (US $48) for each repeat offence if police towed their vehicle between April 14, 2009 and January 4, 2012

The fines for vehicles towed between August 31, 2008 and April 14, 2009 includes the cost of towing, plus daily fines, as announced in the Government Gazette.


Court orders Zitahali Resort, Spa Kuda-Funafaru to pay MIRA US$300,000 in fines

Civil Court has ordered Zitahali Resort and Spa Kuda-Funafaru to pay over $300,000 to Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) in fines, local media has reported.

The court order states that Zitahali Resort owes MIRA a total of $384,172.68 as lease rent, land rent, adjusted advance payment and fines from failing to pay the amount by November 2012, local media reported.

According to Sun Online, Zitahli is owned by Moosa Shiyam Abdullah Ali, brother of Maldivian Democratic Party MP Ahmed Hamza.

The Civil Court order states that Ali has three months to pay the full amount to MIRA.


Fines to be issued for people catching migratory birds: EPA

Maldives Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that people catching migratory birds will face fines of MVR 30,000 (US$1,941) and a further MVR 25,000 (US$1,618) for every additional bird.

Local media reported that migratory birds are protected under international and Maldivian law and that many different species of bird migrate to the country at this time of year.


Deadline extended for companies to submit annual reports

Financial authorities have extended the deadline for private and public companies to submit their latest annual reports and audit figures until November 22, local media has reported.

With the previous deadline set by the Economic Ministry set to expire tomorrow, authorities have reportedly decided to offer companies an extension for submitting their reports to take into account the recent Eid al-Adha holiday period, according to Haveeru.

Failure to meet these revised deadlines will result in fines of MVR10,000 and MVR 30,000 being imposed on the managing directors of private and public companies respectively.


MIRA formulates policy for enforcement agencies

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has formulated and published on its website the official policy (Dhivehi) for taking action against persons or companies with unpaid taxes, fees, rents, royalties or other monies owed to the state.

Under the approved guidelines for the relevant authorities to take measures against non-compliers, the government could refuse to provide services, cease business transactions and refuse to award contracts for the persons or companies with dues to the state.

Exceptions to the first rule however include basic services provided by the government and services provided by one state institution to the other.

The authorities empowered to take the punitive measures and enforce the policy include the Economic Ministry, Finance Ministry, Transport Ministry, Male’ City Council, Maldives Customs Service and the Department of Immigration.

While the policy will be in effect from November 1, 2012, for the first six months the enforcement agencies should refuse to provide services only to companies that owe monies to the particular authority. However, from May 1, 2013, the relevant authorities would be required to check if the company or person owes monies to MIRA.

The exceptions however do not apply to the Maldives Custom Service and Department of Immigration during the first stage of implementation.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, MIRA began enforcing its policy on ‘Freezing Bank Accounts of Taxpayers’ with unpaid taxes, fees, rents, royalties and other monies owed to the state.

“Since publishing the policy, taxpayers were given a grace period of 1 month to settle all outstanding dues. The process for account freezing has been commenced for 37 taxpayers for failure to settle the dues in the given grace period, and the details sent to relevant authorities to freeze the bank accounts of five of these taxpayers, as of 8 October 2012. Some taxpayers who issued dishonoured cheques were also among those who will have their bank accounts frozen. The total owing from these dishonoured cheques amounts to MVR 450,000 (US$29,182),” reads a news item from MIRA.

Moreover, MIRA has filed a number of cases at the Civil Court to enforce judgments over unpaid rent and fines imposed for late or non-payment.


Over MVR 4 million collected in traffic violation fines

Police have collected over MVR 4 million (US$259,403) in fines for traffic violations, Assistant Commissioner Ahmed Saudhi revealed at a press briefing on Wednesday.

From January to the end of September this year, Saudhi said MVR 4.4 million was received as fines.

The Head of the Central Operations Command urged the public to abide by traffic regulations to avoid fines and ensure road safety.


Inland Revenue to recover unpaid debts

The newly instituted Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has undertaken efforts to recover debts and monies owed to the government by various parties.

Commissioner General of Taxation Yazeed Mohamed told newspaper Haveeru that the debts include fees, royalties and rent from 45 different sectors.

While MIRA was working with relevant government authorities to recover the debts, Yazeed said “necessary measures” would be taken from 2011 onward if dialogue and other procedures fail.

The Commissioner General did not reveal the amount being sought by the government.

However, an audit report of the former Department of Inland Revenue released in October 2009 revealed that it had failed to collect over Rf1.1 billion (US$85.6 million) in unpaid taxes, fines and resort rent.

“As a result of the department’s inadequate efforts to collect unpaid taxes, as of 31 July 2009, the government has not received Rf117 million (US$9.1 million) in unpaid taxes and fines and none of these monies has been received as of 30 September 2009,” it reads.