Police have begun investigating a threatening phone call from MP Ahmed Siyam to a former employee at his Vilu Reef resort who was sacked last month.
The ex-resort worker, Hussan Yousuf, submitted the case to police last week with an audio recording of the phone conversation.
In the approximately three-minute long clip shared with local media, the resort tycoon – owner of the Sun Travels & Tours group and leader of the government-aligned Maldives Development Alliance – is heard threatening to “destroy” Yousuf, claiming that he was out to harm Siyam’s business interests.
“Is it because you want to go to jail that you’re trying to destroy my business?” a voice that appears to be Siyam’s is heard saying.
A punishment from God such as paralysis could befall Yousuf as a result of challenging or confronting Siyam, he suggests.
In response, Yousuf tells the resort magnate that he was seeking his rights and refers to a petition signed by over 150 staff listing their grievances.
“Let me tell you, you don’t have any rights, [Vilu Reef] is not your place,” Siyam replies, claiming that Yousuf begged for a job at the resort.
Siyam further warned the dismissed employee that he could exercise the power of the government to incarcerate Yousuf.
“If you keep pestering me like this I can send my team to really pester you. If you try to harm my business I will destroy you. [God] will not even give any money in this life to an evil devil like you. Woe on you, evil devil,” Siyam is heard saying before hanging up the phone.
Yousuf meanwhile told opposition-aligned private broadcaster Raajje TV that Siyam’s threats have caused psychological distress to him and his family.
Police told Yousuf that the threats would be investigated as a serious case, he said.
The MP for Dhaal Meedhoo – reelected in the March 22 parliamentary polls – is also currently on trial for alcohol smuggling and possession after a liquor bottle was discovered by customs officers at the airport upon his return from an overseas trip in March 2012.
At the last hearing of the case in March, Siyam denied the charges at the Criminal Court.
Meanwhile, following the presentation of the staff petition to the Vilu Reef management last month, 18 employees were fired and given an hour to leave the island.
Tourism Employees Association of Maldives (TEAM) Secretary General Mauroof Zakir told Minivan News that the association would assist the staff in taking the case to the Employment Tribunal, though he felt there would be “no hope” for a fair case.
“Shiyam is very strong here,” he noted, “one of the partners of the government.”
“Since 2012 the decisions are against international standards and international best practice,” he added. “It’s all corrupt judiciary, and High Court decisions against employment cases are one of the key factors.”