Ex-Housing Minister determined to contest in council election

The former Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu has stated that summoning him to the police for questioning over allegations is an attempt to disrupt his political work and his efforts to contest for Male’ city mayoral post in the upcoming local council election. However, he is determined to content and that he will stick to his decision to compete as the mayor for Male’ city in the election, said Muizzu.

Muizzu was summoned to police on Saturday night to be questioned regarding a case filed by Finance Ministry over the issue of the government having to compensate Noomadi Resort and Residence (Noomadi). Finance Ministry has requested police to conduct a criminal investigation into Muizzu over the case.

The former housing minister was summoned to police less than 48 hours after he submitted his candidacy papers to contend as mayor for Male’ city.

Speaking at the office of Progressive Party of the Maldives’s (PPM) after attending the policestation, Muizzu said numerous allegations were made against him on the case of Noomadi.

Muizzu said he was summoned to police in a bid to interrupt his political work and further said that it has been days since the allegations were made against him over Noomadi case, however, he was called to the police only after he submitted his application form to contest for the mayoral position. He said that he was summoned to police on political influence.

Muizzu said the country is witnessing autocracy from the same administration that came to power promising to persist, advance and sustain democracy. He said all the contenders should have an equal right to campaign and it should not be interrupted.

“If God wills, with the support of all of you, and with the hope that the beloved citizens of Male ‘will support me, I will persist in my work to content for the mayoral position of Male'," said Muizzu.

Muizzu said, if he has committed any wrong, he has no issued over being investigated, and assured that he had not done any wrong in the case of Noomadi.

Muizzu added that he decided to compete as the mayor for Male’ city to bring a positive impact to the city given the fact that the incumbent council was unable to do much over the past three terms.

Noomadi Resorts and Residences was contracted to construct 700 housing units under the private villa model on January 20, 2011, and to develop 500 housing units, Police Academy Phase I, and sewerage systems in three islands on May 30, 2013. However, the agreements were terminated by the previous government, claiming that the company had violated the terms of the contract. The company denied the claim.

The termination led to the company filing a claim for US$155 million as compensation, and other arbitration charges at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.When the arbitration case was first filed on December 11, 2017, former Housing Minister Dr. Muizzu took part in the discussions and decisions were made by the state on how to handle the case with the involvement of Dr. Muizzu in the capacity of the government's housing minister.

After the minister lost his position on the government on November 17, 2018, Dr. Muizzu on 14 June 2019 gave a statement as a witness against the state produced by Noomadi in their arbitration claim. His statement against the state contradicted his previous stance on the issue while he was minister, and damaged the state's defense.

The current government reached a settlement agreement with the company on August 25 2019. According to the out-of-court settlement, the government will pay the company US$ 55 million as compensation. The first payment of US$ 27.5 million was paid by the government on 5 September 2019. The remaining half of the total payment has now been completed.