Ministry: Newport View being run in violation of regulation, working on vacating the premises

An aerial shot of Newport View and the bridge-viewing platform run by Strada Private Limited in Lonuziyaaraih Kolhu, Male' City. (File Photo/Strada)

Newport View, a restaurant by Strada Private Limited, is being run in violation of regulation and State authorities are working on vacating the premises as per law and procedure, says Ministry of National Planning and Infrastructure.

Strada was issued a 30-day notice to vacate Newport View and the bridge-viewing platform on March 11. The notice period ended on April 11, but the company has not vacated the premises, or shut down the businesses.

Ministry of National Planning and Infrastructure issued a statement over the company’s failure to comply with the notice this Monday, in which it declared that the company’s failure to comply with the notice meant the Newport View was now being run in violation of regulations.

“Since the party failed to vacate the premises within the duration instructed by the ministry and since it continues to run its business in violation of regulations, this ministry announces it is following the set procedures and policies which needs to be followed,” wrote the ministry in its statement.

The ministry warned that everyday Strada continues to keep Newport View open in violation of the notice to vacate the premises is a day Strada continues to actively violate set regulations.

Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure reports it plans to develop a green public space at the space once the property is vacated.

Strada was awarded land at the location in Lonuziyaaraih Kolhu where it runs the Newport View and bridge-viewing platform and the now-demolished beverage outlet, Chai Time, during former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration.

The Managing Director of Strada at the time was Zahid Rameez, who was a council member of the former ruling party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) prior to his abrupt resignation from PPM last March.

The current MD of Strada is Malaka Abdul Azeez – Zahid’s spouse.

The former Housing Ministry had agreed to pay Strada MVR 14.4 million as compensation following its decision to rescind rights granted to the company to run Chai Time in order to run the ring road project in Male’ City.

However, release of compensation money has been put on hold at the instructions of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which is running a probe into the decision, and Strada has threatened to sue the State over the issue.

Strada’s restaurant chain, Newport, was also under investigation by the ACC over the award of contract to prepare the banquet to celebrate Maldives’ 50th Independence Day. ACC had forwarded the case to the Prosecutor General’s Office for criminal charges, but the Prosecutor General’s Office later decided not to proceed with charges.