Yacht Tours escapes from hefty fine for environmental damage

DRP leader and Kaashidhoo constituency MP Abdulla Jabir | Photo: Majlis

GDh. Atoll, Maldives – Civil Court has ruled that Yacht Tours does not have to pay the MVR 12.9 million fine for damaging the environment while developing a resort in GDh. Vatavarreha.

Civil Court had ruled that the fine could not be taken after Attorney General’s Office failed to submit a the Environment Decision Statement’s copy on which the whole case had leaned on.

Environment Minsitry had fined Yacht Tours company which is owned by MP Abdulla Jabir after report was made based on complaints made against Yacht Tours for not following the Environmental Decision Note given under the Environmental Impact Assesment to develop a resort on the island.

The report made by Environment Ministry after their visit to the island on April 13, 2009 stated that Yacht Tours went against Environment Decision Note given which mandated that they could not dredge or reclaim land anywhere near the island.

The ministry report stated that an area of 16,053 square meters at a depth of an average 1.4 meters were dredged from the west area of Vatavarrehaa, and that 22,475 cubic metres of sand had been taken from there. In addition to this, 1,174 cubic metres of sand was also dredged near the two jetties made for the resort and an area of 7,537 square meters of land was also reclaimed.

Following the finding, ministry had fined Yacht Tours by MVR 2 million for not following the Environment Decision Statement, MVR 7.57 million for dredging and an additional MVR 3.37 million for reclamation totaling the fine to MVR 12.94 million.

Following Yacht Tours refusal to pay the fine after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a letter on August 27, 2009 to them, EPA had filed the case at Civil Court. However, as Yacht Tours did not accept the chit sent by the court, the case was heard without Yacht Tours representatives after the court deemed that they had refused the case.

On the first of this month, civil court judge Ali Abdullah had ruled that since enough evidence had not been presented by the government regarding this case, Yacht Tours would not have to pay the fine.