Nasheed denies links to TMA, MACL

Speaker of the Parliament and former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed has denied any links to seaplane operator Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

While airports company MACL and TMA are locked in dispute over the terms of leasing the newly built seaplane terminal at Velana International Airport (VIA), the public has accused Nasheed of making biased remarks regarding the deal.

Recently, rumors that the government intends to hand over the operation of the new seaplane terminal to TMA became louder. Amid these rumors, the government has arranged to allocate a large chunk of land to the company for a period of two years at the same rate at which space is currently allocated to TMA.

However, speaking at the Financial Committee on Wednesday, CEO of TMA, A.U.M. Fauzy said MACL had agreed to allocate 19,000 square meters of land for a period of fifteen years at US$ 10.35 per square meter from the new terminal. He requested the government to honor the outcome of previous negotiations accordingly.

Amid accusations of Nasheed holding partial opinions on the matter, a hand-written note by Nasheed absolving himself of all links to both TMA and MACL has been circulating on social media. Heavily shared by main-ruling MDP's activists, the note stated that he spoke on the MACL-TMA dispute out of fear of how the matter could affect the Maldives' economy if it dragged on. Asserting that he had no links to both parties, Nasheed said he believed it could significantly damage the country's economy if the matter is not resolved soon.

"My relationship is with the Maldivian people and the country," wrote Nasheed.

Commenting on the issue earlier, Nasheed had stated that all communications and negotiations between MACL and TMA regarding the seaplane terminal had taken place during the tenure of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom. If a quick solution is not reached, it could subsequently lead to delay in opening the new runway, and could back the government into compensating TMA for damages.

Emphasizing the importance of a mutually beneficial agreement to both parties, Nasheed had called to investigate those who had mishandled the case. While a quick solution to the dispute is of utmost importance, seeking legal action against those who mishandled the matter is another matter, Nasheed had said.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission has launched a criminal investigation into the matter.