The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the Maldives is preparing to take legal action against Afcons, a construction company, for failing to pay a fine imposed due to environmental damage. This decision came after a platform used for constructing the Thilamale Bridge collided and caused significant harm. EPA Director General Ibrahim Naeem confirmed in a statement to the media that Fcons has not yet paid the fine of MVR 69.4 million levied by the agency.
Naeem emphasized the agency’s intent to pursue court action, stating, “The fine has not been paid yet. So we are working to take the case to court.” The incident in question occurred in August 2022 when the platform involved in the construction between Villingili and Male ran aground due to an anchor issue. This accident resulted in substantial damage, including large holes measuring 10 feet in the Villimale cliff.
Following a thorough investigation into the incident, the EPA initially fined Afcons MVR 69.4 million for the damage caused when the platform went ashore in Villimale. Afcons subsequently appealed to the Environment Ministry for relief from the fine. However, the then Minister of Environment, Aiminath Shauna, upheld the EPA’s decision and did not grant any relief.
In response, Fcons sought legal recourse and applied for an interim order in the Civil Court to stay the fine. The court, however, ruled not to issue such an order. In its lawsuit, Afcons claimed that the platform’s grounding was not due to its negligence but was caused by uncontrollable waves.