Villa Hotels’ Royal Island Resort and Spa, owned by Jumhoory Party (JP) Leader and MP ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim has sued the government and requested the Civil Court to cancel an order by the Tourism Ministry to close the resort’s Spa over allegations of prostitution operations.
Today the Civil Court issued a warrant to cancel the Tourism Ministry’s order and permit spa operations until the suit against the government is concluded.
Speaking for the government at this morning’s hearing, Attorney General Office’s lawyer Maryam Shunana told the Judge that issuing the warrant was equivalent to closing the entire suit, Haveeru reports.
Former Attorney General Azima Shukoor spoke on behalf of the resort.
Shukoor argued that according to the agreement made between the resort and the government, the resort has 30 days to correct any issue found by the government. If the resort fails to correct the issue within that time frame, the government may fine the resort US$10,000 (Rf154,200), reports Haveeru.
Shukoor claimed that the government’s order was given prior to any investigation and was based on allegations alone. She requested that the ministry’s order be cancelled.
She further requested for the warrant to keep the Spa open until the suit reaches a verdict, adding that if the warrant was not issued the resort risked a great loss.
Deputy Solicitor General Ahmed Usham asked whether the Spa was still open–Shukoor replied that it was functioning. Usham responded that losses to the resort should not be raised in court if the Spa was not closed according to the Ministry’s order.
Yesterday, Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said that the government has decided to shut down all the massage parlors in the Maldives and is considering banning the trade of alcohol and pork throughout the Maldives in response to demands made by protestors on December 23.
Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Spokesperson and MP Ahmed Mahlouf called on the coalition of religious NGOs and opposition parties to take actions against the government’s decision to disrupt Gasim’s business operations.
He warned that the government will continue to disrupt other businesses run by opposition supporters.
Gasim has filed cases regarding the other four Villa resorts which were requested to close their spa operations. However, no hearings have yet been conducted.
Press Secretary Zuhair yesterday informed Minivan News that Gasim was pretending to be a victim only for political gain, and that the government’s decision was not intended to harm any individual.
He also said that spas Gasim’s resort were not the only ones asked to close operations, but that some spas and massage parlors in Male’ have also been asked to shut down business on similar charges.