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Ownership transfer halted for islands leased by MMPRC

More than US$90 million paid as resort acquisition fees was stolen.



The tourism ministry has banned the sale of ownership rights for 57 islands leased for resort development in the country’s biggest corruption scandal.

More than US$90 million paid as resort acquisition fees to the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation were embezzled during the previous administration. 

Companies that own the lease rights for the resort islands have been barred from transferring or selling ownership, Tourism Minister Ali Waheed told the press on Sunday. 

There is also a ban on the sale of shares of the companies controlling the lease rights. The measures were put in place at the recommendation of the presidential commission on corruption and asset recovery, Waheed told reporters.

The ban would remain in place until the commission concludes its probe, he added.

The tourism ministry has also frozen all transactions seeking to give away the islands under sub-lease agreements.

A sub-lease agreement for one island that was approved after the new administration took office in November has also been annulled, Waheed noted.