MIRA files cases at Civil Court to enforce judgments over unpaid rent, fines

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has filed a case at the Civil Court seeking US$145,291.31 as unpaid fines levied for non-payment of lease rent for Alif Alif Maaga.

In a press release on Wednesday, MIRA explained that the case was filed to enforce a Civil Court judgment on September 30, which ordered Ellaidhoo Investments Pvt Ltd to settle the fine within 14 days. However, as a result of non-payment, the resort company owes MIRA US$145,291.31 as of October 21.

The MIRA press release noted that the fine would increase until the full payment is made.

MIRA further revealed that Ellaidhoo Investments on October 16 settled US$19,274 as unpaid lease rent for Alif Alif Ellaidhoo in accordance with a previous Civil Court judgment. As a result, MIRA was in the process of withdrawing a case filed on June 4 at the Civil Court to enforce the judgment.

MIRA also filed a case at the Civil Court last week against Alliance Management Services Company Pvt Ltd over an unpaid fine of MVR1.5 million (US$97,276) imposed for late payment of tourism tax for M.S. Costa Romantica.

In its judgment on July 17, the Civil Court ordered Alliance Management Services Company Pvt Ltd to pay a fine of MVR 1,000 (US$64) for each of the 1500 beds on the cruise liner, M.S. Costa Romantica. The court had also ordered Alliance Management Services Pvt Ltd to settle the full amount of MVR 1,500,000 within two months.

Meanwhile, on October 14, MIRA filed  a case against Freesia Maldives Pvt Ltd at the Civil Court to claim the rent of ‘Galolhu Boalha Dhandu [Galholhu Stadium] 6 Number Fihaara [Shop]’ and the fine imposed for late payment of rent.

The case aganst Freesia involves MVR 352,862.90 (US$22,883) as unpaid rent and MVR 154,374.94 (US$10,011) as the fine imposed for non-payment of rent  from May 19, 2010 to October 31, 2010.

Freesia Maldives Pvt Ltd owes a total of MVR 507,234.84 (US$32,894) to the state.


MIRA recovers over Rf125 million owed to state

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has recovered over Rf125 million (US$8.1 million) in outstanding debts owed to the state during its first year of operation.

Speaking at a ceremony last night to celebrate MIRA’s first anniversary, Commissioner General of Taxation Yazeed Mohamed said that recovering the outstanding debts was one of its main achievements in the past year as the institution had “given up hope” of collecting the money.

Yazeed said that MIRA was able to recover Rf125 million from debts that it was prepared to write off due to the “sincere efforts of the enforcement team,” according to local media reports.

MIRA has filed 11 cases at court to recover unpaid rents and fines, said Yazeed, three of which were ongoing while an additional two cases have been settled out of court.

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 million) in unpaid taxes, resort rent and fines.


MIRA “will not back down” over unpaid resort rents: Commissioner General of Taxation

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) “will not back down” or hesitate to take legal measures against resorts with outstanding rents and fines.

Commissioner General of Taxation Yazeed Mohamed told newspaper Haveeru today that “even if the Tourism Ministry does not take measures, MIRA will fulfill its legal responsibilities.”

MIRA is currently pursuing cases at the Civil Court against a number of tourist facilities to recover unpaid rents.

The Tourism Ministry last week warned 10 resorts with outstanding rents and fines to settle at least 25 percent of debts to the state by Wednesday this week, or face revoking or withholding of operating licenses.

Following deliberations by the cabinet, the ministry gave a 90-day notice as “a last warning” on July 12 for the tourist facilities to pay the overdue amounts in full.

However according to a press statement issued by the ministry yesterday, the government has decided not to enforce the threat of revoking licenses after the resorts appealed for leniency, citing global economic turmoil and difficulties in paying large sums in a short period.

According to the press statement, the decision was made after the tourist businesses provided a schedule for making the payments in installments over a course of time. Neither the proposed deadline nor the length of the extension was specified in the statement.

Commissioner General Yazeed meanwhile revealed that only three out of the 10 resorts had paid 25 percent of the outstanding rent and fines as of yesterday. The three resorts that complied after the Tourism Ministry’s “last warning” were Park Hyatt, Six Senses Laamu and Huvadhumafushi.

Haveeru reports that resorts with unpaid rent and fines include those owned by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Hamza and Economic Advisor to the President Ali Shiyam. Other resorts on the list include Zitali Resort and Spa, owned by Hamza’s brother Moosa Shiyam; Giraavaru Tourist Resort, owned by Abdul Rauf, M. Sun Rose; and resorts owned by Yacht Tours, whose chairman and former MP Abdulla Jabir is a candidate for the post of MDP chairperson.