Unavoidable Facts Behind the Police Raids on Villa Group Resorts

The oppositional social media along with all their leaders have put in the best of efforts to disguise a legitimate police intervention into a political game. Defining these acts as harmful doings to the tourism of Maldives has led the truth astray in their perspective. However, there are these unavoidable facts behind the whole media stunt which cannot and will not be avoided by the peace-loving people of Maldives.

Maldives Customs Service along with Maldives Police Service has searched resorts operated by the Villa Group which is owned by Gasim Ibrahim.

The search was being carried out under a court order on Wednesday evening, on the grounds that large amounts of alcoholic beverages were illegally acquired by these resorts and that alcoholic beverages licensed for one of the said resorts were being distributed to other resorts associated with it, which is against the law.

The investigation was carried out in the Royal Island resort, Fun Island, Paradise Island resort, Holiday Island resort and Sun Island resort, all operated under Villa Hotels and Resorts. The authorities even though, being blamed for acting outside the law had strong and legit causes for their actions along with the order of the court.

Four of the five resorts searched under the operation had an illegally acquired stock of pork and alcohol. The illegally obtained liquor was confiscated, and the resort’s staff have been barred from touching some items in its stock.

Due to the confiscation, Villa Group has filed a case against the Maldives Customs Service, its attorney Hussain Shameem said that they have requested the Court to review the case, on the terms that authorities had ‘abused’ the court order. However, the order had authorized the search and collect any evidence to that effect.

Minister for Legal Affairs Uza. Aishath Azima Shakoor has also spoken regarding the issue saying that 13.3% of the state revenue this year is estimated to come from Villa Group.

“However, they have eluded taxes amounting to billions of Rufiyaa and this is the issue we need to solve as a top priority.”

Said the Minister for Legal affairs outlining how severe the case is.

Regarding the issue, Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has released a firm statement saying that the alcohol license of the four resorts had been temporarily revoked over failure to pay taxes. The statement revealed that Villa Group owed over MVR23 million in unpaid taxes.

Moreover, MIRA also announced that Villa Shipping and Trading had been penalized under its enforcement policy over failure to pay resort rent amounting to USD18 million. It also said that Villa Group had not paid TGST and Green Tax amounting to USD5.1 million from March last year.

It is also a matter of simple logic that no institution, no matter how big or small it is, should not be allowed to handle, store or sell alcohol and pork outside the regulations put on for the benefit of all in this Islamic society. The fact that even these basic and ethical concepts are being mistreated and ignored by Villa Group has led us to question the integrity of the respected businessman and Leader of Jumhoory Party, Gasim Ibrahim.

It is sad and concerning how far the opposition has gone to cover up this illicit act committed by one of their leaders and it is indeed a shame upon the so-called reputed Villa Group and the presumed generous business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim to “clench on” 13.3% of the state’s revenue which is most certainly the people’s money.

The government of Maldives under President Yameen’s Administration, even at this very moment is showcasing the utmost respect for the law and is assuring the people that absolutely no one is above the law. With reference to the facts stated above and many more, it is definitely safe to say that all of the recent acts by the Maldives Police service, Customs and MIRA are fully justified. May justice be served to all those who commit crimes.