Lagoons not hindering MMPRC investigation to be leased

Ministry of Tourism has stated that it has decided to open three lagoons involved in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal for leasing, after confirming that it would not hinder the investigation.

The tourism ministry had requested that institutions submit any objection or outstanding debt before the lagoons in Kaafu Atoll were opened for leasing. The lagoons include one near Maafushi that was previously leased to Singapore-based Sunny Holdings Private Limited, Vaavedhdhi which was leased to Turkey-based Depeza Services Limited, and Tholhimaraahuraa which was leased to Dubai-based Delama Tourism Limited Liability Company.

The ministry stated that the companies have requested that the lease agreements for the three lagoons be transferred to other parties, and the ministry has requested that any outstanding debt or issues regarding the lagoons be disclosed within 14 days.

Senior Policy Director Mohamed Huhsaan said the lagoons were opened for leasing after evaluating the relevant issues at the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) and investigative authorities. He said that the lagoons are currently not involved in any investigation or prosecution case.

The MMPRC corruption scandal involves the largest embezzlement of state funds in the history of the Maldives. The investigation has revealed that 37 islands and 12 lagoons had been fraudulently leased through MMPRC for resort development between 2014 and 2015, resulting in a USD194 million loss to the state.