OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT
Context: Since 2018, Save The Dream France (55 French shareholders), invested $2.7m for 50% of Save The Dream Maldives, the company which operates Rihiveli The Dream. The Partner (the other 50%) is Maldivian, invested $0 and it’s not going well. It seems that we do not agree on key principles.
For us, it is simple: No corruption. Treat employees well. Protect the environment.
Today, Save The Dream Maldives can no longer pay employees’ salaries. This is devastating for Save The Dream France because our key objective was to treat employees well.
Every day, Rihiveli’s natural environment suffers from a lack of maintenance. This is devastating for Save The Dream France because our other key objective was to protect Rihiveli’s natural environment.
We urgently need Maldivian public authorities’ and citizens to support this fight. It is not a private dispute between Save The Dream (France), Save The Dream Maldives’ other 50% and Mahal Tours. It is a public interest issue.
- The judicial system of The Maldives has been questioned: When, after more than a year of investigations, it is not possible to know who the real shareholders and legal Managing Director of a company (Mahal Tours) have been and currently are, there is a serious cause for concern. Save The Dream (France) therefore doesn’t know if the different contracts and agreements signed with Mahal Tours are valid or not;
- The work of Maldivian law enforcement agencies has been questioned: When it is possible for a Managing Director of a company to violate the joint venture agreement signed with its foreign partner (Save The Dream (France)) and transfer USD 550,000 in possible collusion with the Bank, there is serious cause for concern. Especially when this money could have been used to pay for employees’ salaries to go through COVID;
- When European investors file a case at the anti-corruption Commission of the Republic of Maldives (in August 2019) and the case is closed without any feedback, there is serious cause for concern. The Republic of Maldives is part of the UN Convention against corruption since March 22nd, 2007.
- When European investors ask Maldivian public authorities to launch financial audits (of all the companies involved in the dispute) to demonstrate that corruption and illegal political financing has been used (causing serious and irreparable damages) and there is no response, there is serious cause for concern;
- When a company (Save The Dream France) holding 50% of Save The Dream Maldives tries to protect the environment of a natural jewel (Rihiveli) and public authorities do not react to the multiple warnings, risking damages to the natural site, there is serious cause for concern.
- The Republic of Maldives is the owner of Rihiveli and has granted a concession (head lease) to a Maldivian family. The father of this family has spent his whole life developing and protecting this island, in the respect of ethical and religious values. When some of the children of the family, only for their personal benefit, may cause irreparable damages to a wonderful island and public authorities don’t react, there is serious cause for concern;
- When the security of European, Maldivian and other expats employees is no more guaranteed by public authorities, even after having used a whistleblowing line, there is serious cause for concern.
- When, the representative of Save The Dream (France) denies access to Rihiveli to the person who pretends to be Mahal Tours’ MD, she receives intimidations on social media channels with jokes about rape and physical harm, there is a serious cause for concern. We urgently ask Maldivian Authorities to protect all staff on the island.
We filed multiple complaints before the Maldivian Judiciary. Our request is very simple (and we think it is quite reasonable): Being able to protect and operate Rihiveli peacefully, respecting staff and the environment, and this up to the end of the sub-lease contract (2042).
If we are threatened to leave the island, victim of a swindling, leaving the staff in total uncertainty and without any indemnity, without any response from the government, we will have to tell the world and question the matter through the international community.
We love your country, that’s why we entered this “Dream”. We respect your country, and we are aware of the challenges ahead to preserve the uniqueness of The Maldives facing global warming and a global pandemic. We really want to be part of a positive story, be an advocate for the country and Rihiveli, but we cannot tolerate injustice and corruption. We hope many will choose sustainability instead of corruption. Long term investment in people and the environment, instead of short term personal gain.
For any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
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