'Senior officials from previous govt received land from Baresdhoo'

Managing Director of Maldives Integrated Tourism Development Corporation (MITDC) Mohamed Raaid has revealed that land from Baresdhoo island was issued to ten individuals during former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's tenure.

Senior government officials of the previous government are among the ten individuals, including three managing directors of state owned enterprises, one cabinet minister and an official of an independent entity, Raaid told the Parliament's State Owned Enterprise committee on Wednesday. However, he did not reveal further information on the individuals.

Raaid said land was also leased to companies and family members linked to government officials, however, protocol was followed in leasing land to these parties.

Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) began work in 2014 to develop Baresdhoo island as a guest house island. However, the project was later transferred under MTIDC in 2016. The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently investigating a corruption case linked to the island.

During the committee meeting, Raaid shared information on the project's progress. Raaid stated that MMPRC received MVR 34 million as land acquisition cost after leasing 19 plots of land from the island.

After the project was transferred under MITDC, MVR 14 million was given to the corporation, and the remaining funds were spent on the Baresdhoo project to build a harbour and a causeway, said Raaid. After the project was transferred, MITDC received MVR 21 million as rent from 19 parties.

Noting that a large amount of funds that were invested into the project were used for purposes other than those related to the project, some of the projects on which the funds were utilized remain unknown, said Raaid.

"MVR two million was spent on senior Management fairs and MVR one million on Addu Integrated Tourism Project. MVR 3.9 million was spent on a project named 'Palm'. We have not been able to figure out what project 'Palm' is", said Raaid.