Former Minister of Housing and Infrastructure, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu- who is currently vying for Male' City mayor on the opposition's ticket- has stated that he was taken for police questioning as an intimidation tactic over his campaign.
On Saturday, Muizzu answered questions from the press outside the police station after the questioning concluded. Highlighting that the summons for questioning was sent two days after his announcement to run for mayor, Muizzu stated that this suggests the questioning was an attempt to intimidate him against contesting for mayor.
Muizzu - who is also the vice president of opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) - was summoned for police questioning regarding the state's dispute with Noomadi Resorts and Residence.
Muizzu was the housing minister when the Noomadi agreement was terminated during ex-President Abdulla Yameen's regime citing “contractual violations”. Noomadi was contracted to develop housing units on several islands and sought compensation from the state to cover their losses - ultimately filing two cases at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Muizzu was also summoned to the People’s Majlis public accounts' committee regarding a statement he gave about the Noomadi case, and he is accused of having provided false information during questioning.
While the state has agreed to pay USD 55 million to Noomadi Resorts and Residences as a “full and final settlement.”, Finance Minister Abdulla Ameer has previously revealed that Muizzu's altered statement weakened the state's case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
As such, Muizzu stressed that he has already answered questions about the Noomadi case from the parliament's committee in the past, adding that that the Attorney General's Office (AGO) has also issued a statement in regard to the issue as well. Therefore, the summons for police questioning after such a long delay is clearly an attempt by the incumbent administration to hinder his campaign for mayor, said Muizzu.
He further stated that, despite police questioning, he stands firm in his resolve to bring changes to Male' City according to the needs and wants of residents.
Following his announcement for mayor, the main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has heavily criticised Muizzu with former President and leader of MDP, Mohamed Nasheed making disparaging comments about the former minister's tenure during his speech at the party's campaign launch event on Friday.