Gili Lankanfushi fined for attempting to destroy sandbank

Gili Lankanfushi Resort has been fined over MVR 500,000 for attempting to destroy a sandbank which lies near Himmafushi island in Kaafu atoll.

A statement issued by the Environmental Protecting Agency (EPA) said a group of Gili Lankanfushi employees on January 21 dug trenches across the sandbank that lies between the resort and Himmafushi island in a deliberate attempt to cause erosion that would sweep away the sandbank. Trenches were dug at three different points of the sandbank. EPA said Gili Lankanfushi was fined by MVR 562,980 under the Environment Protection and Preservation Act of Maldives on May 27 and has been asked to pay the fine to EPA within 30 days.

Staff from Gili Lankanfushi, led by the resort's then General Manager David Stepetic, attempted to destroy the sandbank as the resort's management was unhappy that residents of Himmafushi island used the sandbank as a picnic spot. The resort said it disturbed the guests staying at their resort. The incident sparked outrage and a probe was launched into the matter. A travel ban was issued on Stepetic, and he later resigned as the resort's GM on February 2.