SeaLife Global’s managing director Ahmed Moosa Mohamed (Ammaty) – pressed with multiple charges for defrauding over 200 tenants out of millions in booking fees for a proposed apartment complex in suburban Hulhumale’ – has been released from police custody by the Criminal Court.
He was extradited to Maldives in March, and had been in police custody ever since.
The Prosecutor General’s Office filed charges against Ammaty in May.
At the remand hearing on Thursday morning, the State requested that Ammaty to be held in jail pending the outcome of trial, citing that he may influence witnesses and is deemed a flight risk.
Ammaty’s lawyer responded that there were no witnesses to influence, and that Ammaty had not, and will not flee.
The Criminal Court ordered his release, declaring the case does not require his detention.
The charges against Ammaty are:
Ammaty faces 65 years in prison if the charges are proven against him in the court.
SeaLife announced its 3,000-apartment housing project, the SeaLife Complex in Hulhumale’, back in 2015.
280 tenants paid a booking fee of MVR 50,000 (some more than MVR 50,000). But the SeaLife Complex was never built and the tenants never reimbursed for their down payments.
The cumulative total of the booking fees collected by SeaLife is estimated to be upwards of MVR 14 million.
The tenants who were cheated of their money filed a class-action lawsuit with the Civil Court against SeaLife Global, Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and Ministry of Economic Development in January 2019.
HDC and Ministry of Economic Development later reached a settlement in July 2019, under which they agreed to pay the tenants MVR 45 million as compensation and give them priority in allocation of housing units under public housing schemes.
SeaLife Global was awarded land in Hulhumale’ to building the apartment complex as compensation for termination of a government contract to build luxury villas in V. Thinadhoo signed during former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration. The company was awarded land in Hulhumale’ and launched the housing project with approval from the Economic Council of the President’s Office in 2014, during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration.