Integrity commission accepts Villa’s case against officers in resort raids

Employees of a resort, operated under Villa, protest against raids. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Employees of a resort, operated under Villa, protest against raids. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

The National Integrity Commission (NIC) has accepted a case filed by Jumhoory Party leader Qasim Ibrahim’s Villa Group, alleging that Police and Customs officers had entered the company’s resorts illegally.

The case, filed at the NIC last Tuesday by Villa Group, claimed that officers of Maldives Police Service and Maldives Customs Service had raided resorts operated by the company and seized a large quantity of alcohol from Fun Island Resort.

Villa had filed complaints at NIC against seven police officers and 37 customs officers, who were actively involved in carrying out the raids.

The company had also made public the names of the 44 individuals who were actively involved in the raids.

In the wake of the raids, Villa had released a press statement declaring that their resorts were raided and goods seized illegally. It called out the authorities involved, stating that they must be punished for their unlawful doings.

Customs has since released a statement defending their officers and condemning Villa for publicly releasing the identities of individual officers. In their statement, they called on the police to investigate this matter with utmost seriousness.

The request from Customs came amidst an ongoing police investigation into Villa for publicizing the identities of their officers. In a statement released by the police last week, they censured Villa Group and claimed it as an act of trying to hinder justice. Police also said that this was an act to threaten law enforcement officers.

The raids, which began last week, were commenced under a warrant for the purpose of gathering evidence for a claim that alleges that the alcoholic beverages, which were released by Customs’ bonded warehouse under the name of Royal Island’s management, had been illegally taken to other resorts operated under the Villa umbrella.

The lawyers representing the companies of Villa continue to deny the accusations of any illegal doings in the resorts while authorities are investigating the case.

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