Tuesday 21st May 2024
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corruption

Tourism Ministry bypasses MIRA to issue license for Rahaa resort

The Ministry of Tourism has bypassed Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) regulations to issue operating license to Rahaa Resort, a property owned by former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Moosa Manik.
TMJ has learnt that operating license was issued to the property on May 26, 2022.
The property opened in 2019. MIRA had, at that time, held off clearance on the property, over unpaid dues to the agency. MIRA clearance was necessary to obtain operating license. However, this was cleared when then-Tourism Minister Ali Waheed intervened and facilitated the clearance, citing that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was to open the property. At that time Manik and Ali Waheed were closely aligned.
Rahaa Resort was one of the properties listed in MIRA’s rent and taxes dodger list.
Reportedly Rahaa Resort has to pay US$ 2.3 million in resort lease and US$ 500,000 as penalties. The payment is pending.
When questioned why a company was allowed to bypass MIRA regulations, Tourism Minister Dr Abdullah Mausoom refused to issue a comment.
This is not the only pending dues for the property. National carrier, Maldivian, recently revealed that Rahaa Resort has to pay over US$ 500,000 to the airline. The official reveals that they had made several attempts to recover the amount. Maldivian had requested the resort to provide a payment schedule – a request that was ignored.
Manik is a close associate of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He was one of the first people to visit President Solih after he underwent thyroid surgery in March this year. Since then, Manik had taken a strong stance with the administration, actively defending President Solih and his allies, including Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail.