Attorney General’s Office to decide on Yacht Tours injunction appeal in “days”

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) will announce in the “next few days” whether it will appeal an injunction preventing the state from taking over several properties operated by J Hotels and Resorts over a rent payment dispute.

Deputy Solicitor General Ahmed Usham told Minivan News today that the AGO was presently reviewing the Civil Court injunction issued earlier this month in order to decide whether to contest the matter.

“We have a time limit of 90 days – excluding public holidays – to file an appeal,” Usham said.

The government has sought to revoke the lease for Alidhoo Resort in Haa Alif Atoll and Kudarah Island Resort in South Alifu Atoll from J Hotels and Resorts’ parent company Yacht Tours Maldives since late last year.  The state had previously provided the operator a seven day period to hand over the properties.

However, Yacht Tours Maldives – formed by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir – has continued to contest the government’s right to reclaim the land.

In the Civil Court injunction issued on June 4 this year, the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture was told it could not take over the resorts until a final ruling had been made over the issue of unpaid rent claimed to be owed by Yacht Tours.

Yacht Tours Director Ibrahim Shiham last week accused the government of trying to come on to the Kudarah resort property on June 3 without a court warrant to take over the property, alleging authorities had sought to create a “political drama” out of the case.

The Tourism Ministry told local media at the time that Yacht Tours had continuously failed to pay back the rent and fines in installments as previously agreed following a first termination notice being sent.

Minivan News was awaiting a response from Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb at time of press.


Land leased by Jabir’s company revoked due to outstanding rent payments

Land leased on Kaashidhoo in Kaafu Atoll to Maldivian Democratic Party MP Abdulla Jabir’s J Hotels and Resorts has been revoked by the government due to failure to pay rent.

According to local media, Kaashidhoo Council President Ali Sulthan said the land – leased for the construction of an 80-bed guest house – had been leased for the past ten months, of which only three months’ rent had been paid, local media reported.

An amount of MVR 166,000 (US$10,758) is apparently due from the company, which was contracted to pay a sum of MVR 15,000 (US$972) per month.

“The land was leased to a company owned by our constituent member Jabir. We have revoked the land because they were not paying the rent at all,” Sulthan was quoted as saying by Sun Online.

J Hotels and Resorts is operated under Jabir’s Yacht Tours Maldives.

Executive Director of J Hotels and Resorts Ibrahim Rasheed confirmed to local media that that the company does own a land in Kaashidhoo, but it does not have land with outstanding rent payments.


Laamu Gan Asseyri project to proceed: Tourism Minister

The government has apologised for miscommunications which led to the “unfortunate” media coverage of a contract between the Ministry of Tourism and J Hotels and Resorts for a mid-market tourism center at Laamu Gan Asseyri Project, Tourism Minister Mariyam Zulfa has said.

“The Cabinet did not decide to cancel the contract, if you read the government gazette closely it just put the project on hold for some time. The intention was never to withdraw the agreement,” she explained.

Minivan News recently reported along with local media that the Cabinet had terminated its contract with J Hotels and Resorts and would solicit further bids for the project. Company chairman and former MP Abdulla Jabir issued emphatic warnings that he would sue the government.

Jabir today said he has been informed by the Minister that the Cabinet would approve the project.

“So far I’ve been advised that it will go forward, so we’ll see how things go. I don’t know what the Cabinet will do, one day they make a decision the other day they change it, but in time we will see how it proceeds,” he said.

Jabir reiterated that the Minister had assured him that the project would go forward, and that he had no bad relations with any ministry.

Speaking with Minivan News yesterday Zulfa said, “J Hotel and the Tourism Ministry were and are keen to get the project going, especially since the President has said that the mid-market project is a priority to the government and that it will make sure that project gets done.”

Given the project’s value, Zulfa said the Cabinet wanted to ensure that everything was in line with the government’s vision before proceeding with the agreement. She believed the Cabinet had not been provided with sufficient information to make an informed decision on the matter.

Zulfa said she has now presented all the relevant information to the Cabinet, and the project will move forward.

“The government enjoys a good relation with the development party, and we regret the unfortunate turn of events that led to this misunderstanding,” she said.

The Asseyri project, launched in March, aims to bring two 300-bed hotels and 69 guest houses to the 25 hectare area along with recreation activities, water sports and restaurants.

“Right now we can’t cater to the mid-market tourists who want to have options when they make a trip to or within the Maldives. This will give them that opportunity. And the basis of the project will be the natural beauty–the beach, lagoon and reef are absolutely fantastic,” said Zulfa.

She added that the mid-market project is designed in and around the airport development project, and will offer job opportunities and economic growth.

Moving away from the existing one island, one hotel tourism product, the Asseyri (beachside) project intends to rent out commercial components of an area to different parties, allowing larger numbers of local entrepreneurs to participate in the Maldives’ lucrative tourism sector.

In July, Addu City Council announced its intention to incorporate the project’s core values and aspects into Addu City’s development plan.

The two areas ear-marked for the project are the Maafishi Area of Hulhumeedhoo Island and the start of the Hankede area, Hithadhoo.


J Hotels and Resorts awarded mid-market tourism project in Laamu Atoll

The Tourism Ministry has awarded the ‘Asseyri’ project to develop mid-market tourism in Laamu Atoll Gan to J Hotels and Resorts, reports Haveeru.

J Hotels and Resorts – owned by former MP Abdulla Jabir who has announced that he will be running for chairperson of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – was chosen among three bidders for the project, according to a Tourism Ministry official.

The project involves developing a 25 hectare area with 1,500 beds, including a 300-bed hotel and 79 guest houses, as well as spas and sports facilities.

State Minister for Tourism Thoyyib Mohamed previously told Haveeru that while the government preferred a private party to develop and manage the whole project, the ministry had a ‘Plan B’ to lease out separate components of the project to different parties.