ACC opens criminal investigation into seaplane terminal
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has launched a criminal investigation into the new seaplane terminal at Velana International Airport after allegations of the terminal being awarded to a seaplane operator that would detriment the government while profiting the operating company immensely.
The announcement of the criminal investigation by ACC comes after the Finance Ministry stated that it had decided to award the Trans-Maldivian Airways (TMA), space from the new terminal that is equivalent to its current terminal and operation space at the airport.
ACC stated that the rate of USD 10.35 per meter for the seaplane operators’ lounges was lower than the rate at which land was rented for other buildings in the airport. ACC stated that the lowest rate for the seaplane terminal was USD 174.92 and the highest rate was USD 314.57. Revenue would be calculated at USD 31.66 million and USD 56.9 million.
ACC stated that at the current rate, the revenue loss would be around USD 29.78 million and USD 55 million. ACC stated that the MACL had held discussions with seaplane operators regarding the operations but had not entered into an agreement with one so far.
ACC noted that since the new terminal was developed as a multi-operational facility, its investigation had noticed that the MACL would face losses if the facility was rented at the rate of USD 10.35. The Commission also noted it was aware of business connections between current and past members of the MACL board of directors and two of the private seaplane operators at the airport. ACC noted that it was a conflict of interest that these members were involved in the discussions between MACL and these companies.
ACC stated that it had already informed the MACL to make amendments based on the findings of its investigation. The Commission also noted that it was conducting a criminal investigation whether there was an action to gain an unfair advantage to a seaplane operator or operators, whether there was any action that could diminish the income or revenue towards the state.