Police have launched an investigation into the unlicensed tourist operation at Fushidhigga – a non-residential island located in A. Dh. Atoll.
Fushidhigga – previously called Raihdhigga – had been leased to two different buyers in the MMPRC embezzlement scam which took place during former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration.
Both HMHI and Maldiviana claim rights to the island, while private citizen Ahmed Khaleel – who also claims rights to the island - was recently found running an islands tourist operation on the island.
The police, accompanied by a team of Tourism Ministry officials, had conducted a search and seizure operation at the island last Saturday.
According to the police, the raid had been conducted without a court warrant because the island was state property, thereby ruling out the need to obtain a court warrant as necessary for private properties.
“The police are investigating the tourist activities run at the island which are illegal, and were conducted without obtaining the necessary permits and licenses,” confirmed chief police spokesperson Izmia Zahir.
She added that the police had seized documents and other evidence during the raid.
Speaking to press on Saturday evening, Tourism Minister Ali Waheed said that Fushidhigga was currently under the control of the police, and will remain under its control until such time as the Tourism Ministry makes a decision regarding the island.
“We advise against anyone travelling in or out of the island without permission from the police. Work is in progress to vacate the island of the people and the property there. The island will be vacated of the people and property by 6 pm tomorrow (Sunday), and brought under the full control of police,” said Ali Waheed.
He added that two migrant workers – both undocumented – had been found living in the island during the raid. One of the workers is identified on Immigration records as a fugitive.