Seal company seeks order to evacuate expats in Bodufinolhu

Seal Maldives Private limited has requested B. Thulhaadhoo Magistrate Court to issue a temporary order to evacuate the expatriates residing in Bodufinolhu.

The expatriates had protested over not being paid their wages for six months. During the protest, they held locals working on the island hostage, vandalised the properties of the island, and confronted the police who arrived at the island to deescalate the situation with stones and sharpened steel-rods. Some police officers had to undergo treatment at Thulhaadhoo hospital for the injuries caused by the migrant foreign workers. After that, a police team from Male' arrived at the island to attend to the situation. The expatriates were employed in the island to develop the island as a resort owned by Seal Maldives which was contracted to RIX Private Limited (RIX) for the construction work. The workers are employed by RIX. The locals were employed by Seal Maldives.

Seal Maldives’ legal team has filed a case with Thulaadhoo Magistrate Court to see if there are valid grounds to file for compensation for the damages caused by the expatriates. Seal Maldives added that it would be difficult to assess the damages caused while the labourers were residing there. Therefore, they sought an order to evacuate the expatriates residing in the island.

RIX is owned by MP Ali Riza representing Milandhoo constituency. The company says they were unable to pay salaries because Seal Maldives did not settle the due payments, an allegation which Seal denies.

The police are also investigating the fact undocumented immigrants were illegally employed without paying their salaries. The police have said they are investigating a suspected case of human trafficking related to the issue.

Parliament, Human Rights Commission and Economic Ministry have also launched individual investigations over the issue. However, the authorities are yet to reveal details of the investigation.