Staff at Rahaa Resort, a property owned by former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Reeko Moosa Manik, have complained that they have not been paid for the past three months.
Speaking to Dhiyares on the condition of anonymity, some of the staff reported that around 60 percent of staff at the resort have not been paid for the past three months.
When questioned, Manik had harshly retorted that he was ‘running a business’, and that ‘there were things to factor in’. He added that if the staff were unhappy, then they were more than welcome to leave.
The employees also report that salaries were given on a selective basis and that most of the staff at the property were there as they had no other option. The employees also report that most had left the property.
They also say that their living conditions at the resort were deplorable – food and medication provided at the property of low quality. The staff also said that they had no option but to stay in their room to recover if they fell sick.
An official at the Ministry of Tourism reported to Dhiyares that Rahaa Resort still owed the state around MVR 43 million (US$ 2.8 million) in rent and penalties. Rahaa Resort is one of the 12 resorts listed by Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) as rent and penalty dodgers.
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. The company had requested the resort to provide a payment schedule – a request that was ignored.
Additionally, Bank of Maldives (BML) had petitioned to sell off the head lease for Fares, Boduhuraa, and Kudafares Islands in Laamu Atoll. The islands were mortgaged at the Bank for US$ 11 million that was used to finance resort development. Manik had petitioned the Court not to issue the order as requested by the Bank.
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. Manik had posted a picture of the two on his twitter account - President Solih’s surgical bandage was visible.
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. Parliament Speaker former President Mohamed Nasheed is usually on the receiving end of his barbs.