Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Sunday, decided to dismiss the investigation launched into Dharavandhoo Magistrate Ahmed Latheef, over the extradition order against RIX Maldives Pvt Ltd, for their expatriate staff stranded on Bodufinolhu, Baa Atoll.
During a meeting held by JSC, the commission deemed that Magistrate Latheef’s conduct did not signify a disciplinary issue.
A statement delivered by Lawcraft Pvt Ltd, RIX Maldives’ legal team, claimed that the magistrate’s decision would unlawfully benefit other actors and impede investigations into allegations of human trafficking and the exploitation of foreign workers raised against the company.
In 2019, Seal Maldives contracted RIX Maldives, company owned by a parliamentary representative for Shaviyani Atoll’s Milandhoo constituency Ali Riza, to construct Bodufinolhu and develop it into a luxury resort.
Seal Maldives lodged a case with the magistrate court after 203 expatriate workers protested against six months of unpaid wages and barred 13 local staff from leaving the island. Maldives Police Service arrested 19 individuals during the operation to de-escalate the hostage situation.
In addition to extraditing the workers, RIX was instructed to assume responsibility for the workers and to remove any of its capital or property from Bodufinolhu in cooperation with the Maldives Police Service.
According to the Court, documentation proved that RIX had brought the employees to Bodufinolhu while mutually signed agreements granted Seal Maldives the right to order the removal of labourers from the island.
The court noted that the developer had sent a letter to RIX on May 23, requesting the contractor to vacate the employees. After expatriate workers staged a protest on May 16 and caused considerable damage to Seal Maldives’ property, the developer provided RIX until June 31 to remove the labourers from the island to prevent further losses.
Following the contractor’s failure to comply with Seal Maldives’ instruction, the protest and hostage situation on July 2 resulted in additional damages.
Highlighting that Seal Maldives sustained irreversible damages during the incident, the magistrate court noted that any damages to the developer’s property caused by the contactor’s workers must be compensated by the latter, as per the agreements.
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