Police continue raids on islands leased for resort development

Police continue raids on islands leased for resort development
October 29 13:14 2015

Police officers and soldiers yesterday raided an uninhabited island leased for resort development in Baa atoll.

A police spokesperson confirmed that Hibalhidhoo was searched in a joint operation conducted with assistance from the military, but declined to reveal further details.

The island is leased for resort development to a local company called Lets Go Maldives.

Last week, dozens of soldiers raided an island in Lhaviyani atoll leased to Champa Brothers for resort development.

A military spokesperson at the time denied that the search operation was related to the inquiry into an explosion on the president’s speedboat. The government says the blast was caused by a bomb targeting the president, who escaped unhurt.

Vice President Ahmed Adeeb has since been arrested on suspicion of plotting to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen.

Opposition-aligned Raajje TV said a source familiar with the matter had said the soldiers had searched for explosives. A security expert told The Maldives Independent that soldiers would only be involved in raids if it involved “firearms and ordinances.”

The police and military have raided the homes of Adeeb’s associates since his arrest on Saturday.

Abdulla Ziyath, a close associate of Adheeb and the managing director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC), is also under police custody.

The police are investigating the MMPRC’s illegal import of fireworks as well as alleged corruption in leasing several islands for resort development.

In a public address on Sunday, President Yameen said that the fireworks shipment was rushed through customs and suggested that explosives from the fireworks could have been used to make a bomb.

Rumors have meanwhile been swirling on social media about the security forces seeking a missing shipment of new currency notes to be introduced next month. But the central bank has strongly denied the possibility that notes from the new stock could have gone missing.

Additional reporting by Hassan Mohamed.