Mathiveri council denies allegations over guesthouse fire
The guesthouse is owned by MP-elect Abdulla Jabir.
The council of Mathiveri in Alif Alif atoll has denied allegations of arson after a fire destroyed six rooms on the island’s biggest guesthouse.
The fire broke out at the unoccupied Casa Mia guesthouse on Sunday night. It was put out by the joint efforts of the public, the council and the island’s fire-fighter team.
No one was harmed as the property owned by MP-elect Abdulla Jabir was vacant.
On Tuesday morning, police informed the media that a police investigative team dispatched to the island found three bottles of alcohol inside one of the rooms.
According to police, separate investigations are under way into the fire and the discovery of alcohol bottles.
The sale of liquor is prohibited by law on local islands as their consumption is strictly forbidden in Islam. But it is readily available on “uninhabited” resort islands.
Following the fire incident, MP-elect Abdulla Jabir alleged the fire was an act of arson. The council was trying to cancel the agreement after he bought the guesthouse from its previous owner, the tourism magnate told the press.
But the council put out a statement Monday denying the “uncivilised” allegations. The guesthouse failed to create jobs for locals as agreed upon and owes MVR2 million (US$129,700) as unpaid rent, the council said, defending its decision to take back the property.