Malé City Council (MCC) has alleged that police officers and some housing ministry staff are impersonating city council supervisors and unlawfully trying to confiscate items at the local market.
According to an MCC press statement released today (February 8), the local market falls under the jurisdiction of the city council as part of the Decentralisation Act.
However, the council said it had been receiving complaints from market traders saying that police and housing ministry staff are pretending to be council supervisors and attempting to confiscate items.
Repeated removals of the council’s powers by central authorities has led to suggestions that the government is trying to “destroy decentralisation”.
The removal of lands formerly under the council’s jurisdiction in December last year saw the city mayor admit that his council now oversaw only construction, issuing death and birth certificates, and cleaning mosques.
Later the same month, the housing ministry transferred over one third of the council’s employees to its own offices.
The council today condemned the acts of the officials accused, saying that this activity was being carried out without consulting the council in order to defame it.
A fire that broke out in the Nevada store in the local market area around 5:30pm yesterday (September 27) caused damages worth MVR13 million (US$843,060), reports local media.
The fire was put out around 6:50pm by the fire and rescue service of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), which said no one was harmed in the incident.
The owner of the store told local media that the fire was most likely caused due to an electrical short circuit and is estimated to have to cost MVR10 million (US$648,508) in damages.
Goods worth MVR2.5 million (US$162,127) was meanwhile damaged in the adjoining Asters Trading in the same building after the fire spread next door.
Both shops were wholesale businesses with foodstuff stored in warehouses.
Police have seized over 600 coconuts which were kept on the streets near the local market in Malé City on Sunday and taken them to the tow yard.
Police stated that they seized the coconuts after they had been kept on the street for “a long period of time in a manner against regulations”.
They stated that police patrolling the market area will only seize goods after they have been kept for hours in a manner that obstructs traffic in public places.
The Maldives Police Services arrested an expatriate mango vendor at the Malé local market for “illegal” mango vending, local media have reported.
The man had also set up shop in the parking zone. The police confiscated the vendor’s mango boxes and arrested a man who attempted to stop the expatriate vendor’s arrest.
Expatriate workers brought in on work visas are not allowed to work as vendors, Sun Online said.
The Department of Immigration is receiving complaints from the public of foreigners selling local produce brought to Male’ from the atolls.
Controller of Immigration Ilyas Hussein told Voice of Maldives that owners of stalls at the local market had requested the deportation of illegal migrant workers in the market area.
Ilyas said local businesses have been informed not to employ foreigners without valid work visas.
Meanwhile, the Human Resources Ministry has launched a joint operation with police to identify illegal immigrants in the atolls, reports Haveeru.
Deputy Minister Hussein said the ministry was collecting information from island offices and confiscating passports, which will be sent to the Department of Immigration.
The deportation process will be handled by the department using deposit funds, he said, adding that the ministry received a list of about 30 people last week from Laamu and Seenu atolls.
The Human Resource Ministry estimates that there are 16,000 illegal immigrants in the country.
A man was found dead in Malé harbour near the local market on 15 March, reports Miadhu.
The man was identified by police as Moosa Khaleel, 26, Ameenee Villa, S. Hithadhoo.
Khaleel worked in a boat anchored in the harbour.
Reports claim he jumped in the water with another crew member to untie the boat. When Khaleel did not surface, the rest of the crew searched for him. They found his body at the bottom of the harbour.
He was immediately taken to hospital but doctors said he had died before he reached the hospital.
Police are still investigating the case and said the cause of death was still unknown.
Khaleel’s funeral was held after afternoon prayers on Monday.