OPEN LETTER TO MALDIVIAN AUTHORITIES
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, we 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 and Mahal Tours. It is a public interest issue.
• The judicial system of the Maldivian justice has been questioned: When, after more than one year of investigations, it is not possible to know who the real shareholders and legal Managing Director of a company (Mahal Tours) 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 that 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 them serious and irreparable damages) and that there is no feedback, 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 that public authorities don’t react, 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 that public authorities don’t react, there is serious cause for concern;
• When the security of European and Maldivian employees is no more ensured by public authorities, even after having used a whistleblowing line, there is serious cause for concern. When, the representative of Save The Dream (France) denied access to Rihiveli to the questionnable Mahal Tours MD, she gets exposed to intimidations on social media channels, there is a serious cause for concern. We urgently ask Maldivian Authorities to protect Rihiveli staff and the two French European citizens that are on the island representing Save The Dream (France).
We filed multiple complaints before the Maldivian Judiciary. Whatever the outcome of these cases will be, our request is very simple: Being able to protect and operate peacefully Rihiveli (and respecting Rihiveli staff) in the respect of international laws and this up to the end of the sub-lease contract (2042).
If we have to leave the island being victim of a swindling (leaving the staff in total uncertainty and without any indemnity), we will tell the world how we have been treated in the Republic of Maldives and question the matter throughout 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, a global pandemic and environmental stakes. We really want to be part of this history, tell and advocate the story of the country and of Rihiveli, and we cannot tolerate injustice. We hope we will get a large public support from you all.