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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Two parties bid extravagant sums for would-be resorts

MALE, July 7 (Haveeru News Service) -- Two parties bid astronomical sums on Sunday for two islands which are to be developed along with nine other islands into tourist resorts.

Island Dreams Pvt Ltd proposed a staggering US$4.8 billion (about Rf62 billion) for a 10-year period lease for Olhuveli island in Laamu atoll.

Panorama Crest Pvt Ltd proposed US$484.2 million (about Rf6.2 billion) for Lonudhuahutta island in Gaafu Dhaalu atoll.

This is the first time that such sky-rocketing sums have been offered for a resort development project in Maldives.

However, both parties immediately refuted such claims.

When contacted by Haveeru Daily, an official from Island Dreams commented that “even though the Tourism Ministry announced that figure, that (figure) was a mistake.”

The official, who did not want to be named, said that they had actually proposed US$24.4 million for Olhuveli and that, figures in its bidding documents will add up to this figure. However, the official admitted that while the figure was written this way numerically, there was a typing error when the figure was alphabetically spelt out.

“The Tourism Ministry first announced the correct figure. However, the second announcement gave the other (wrong) figure,” the official said.

The bidding documents for Island Dreams were prepared by world renown auditing firm, Earnest & Young.

A Panorama Crest official also said that there was a typing error when the figure was spelt out alphabetically.

Tourism Minister Hassan Sobir said that according to principles, when a cases arises where the numerical figure does not match the figure spelt out alphabetically, the Tourism Ministry can only accept the figure which was spelt out alphabetically.






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