The GMR case shows our no-nonsense approach: Dr Mohamed Waheed

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012 21:02 hrs

pAs GMR Group exited Male International Airport handing charge to Maldives Airport Company Ltd MACL the country&rsquos president strongMohamed Waheedstrong responded to emDisha Kanwar emthrough an emailed interview Edited excerptsppstrongHow do you plan to correct the investor perception that Maldives is not a stable place to invest after the GMR incidentstrongbr The GMR case is a clear instance of this government&rsquos policy of a no-nonsense transparent and legal approach to foreign investment in Maldives This exercise will boost investor confidence The case of GMR is very sad GMR was misled by the predecessor Nasheed administration to signing a legally unsustainable agreement From the day of signing the Maldivian courts and the Anti-Corruption Commission were receiving complaints and cases against both Nasheed&rsquos government and the GMR ventureppDuring Nasheed&rsquos government many fraudulent and duplicitous companies were either brought to Maldives or just browsed through local media as having some involvement in the development of Maldives He Nasheed deceived not only GMR he deceived his own peopleppThis government exhausted all legal options It was the final court of appeal the Supreme Court of a neutral country that ruled in favour of the decision of Maldives to terminate the contract Doesn&rsquot it give impetus to investor confidenceppstrongWhy did not the Maldivian government choose to renegotiate the terms of the contract instead of abruptly cutting off the tiesstrongbr This government engaged It appointed a high-level committee to negotiate with GMR to make sure all sticking points were resolved and an amicable solution reached GMR was not forthcoming All the while it insisted on the ADC airport development charge issue a non-starter without a Parliament approvalppstrongHow does the Maldivian government plan to pay the compensation Do you think that Maldives is in a state to pay when according to the Attorney General the compensation estimates should be around 700 million when the GDP of Maldives is around 2 billionstrongbr I do not wish to go into the details of figures and numbers at this time The government will conduct a forensic audit of the company and its finances to establish the actual financial involvement of GMR during the time it was managing the airport I would like to wait for the report of the auditorsppstrongWill you rebid for the airport Will GMR also be eligible for participation in the bidding process Will Chinese companies be allowed to bid for the airportstrongbr I think it&rsquos too early to talk about the rebidding but yes MACL will open tenders for major development projects in connection with the airport modernisation program GMR is eligible to participate I don&rsquot see any reason why Chinese companies should be barred from participating in the bidding processppstrongThere is a buzz that China is at work in the Indian Ocean nation to prompt the Maldives government to oust GMR The logic of the buzz is how else would Maldives pay the compensation to GMRstrongbr This is a scare that smart Mr Nasheed is using to drill the fear of a China takeover of Maldives in this neighborhood Mr Nasheed has advisors in India who help him to maintain the attention of the Indian government by using buzz words like China Fundamentalists Anti-Indian sentiments etcppI want to make it very clear that there is no such thing or thinking in Maldives especially in the current government Maldives is a Muslim state and has remained so for centuries We have maintained excellent relations with India and have benefited from our good brotherly and neighbourly relations both economically and diplomaticallyppFor a government there are many ways of raising funds The airport is a very lucrative business and I am convinced MACL will find ways and means of settling its dues It has done so in the past and I don&rsquot see any reason it cannot in futureppstrongDont you think Maldives is being used as a pawn in the Indian and Chinese conflict strongbr Absolutely not This is again a making of the former president Nasheed who is facing charges for kidnapping a sitting judge and his special envoy who is facing charges for drug abuseppstrongWill the GMR exit also impact on the Tata Housing Tatva and Patel Engineering investments in Maldivesstrongbr No Neverp

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