GMR seeks over $800 million; Maldives insists on forensic audit

Indian infrastructure firm GMR will seek a compensation of over $800 million from Maldives for the termination of its airport deal here but Male is insisting on a "forensic audit" as it feels the actual amount would be less than half.

"We have sent a letter to the Maldivian government indicating a number of more than $800 million as compensation amount. This is our initial estimate. The final figure would be based upon various calculations, loss of profit among others," GMR (Airports) CFO Sidharath Kapur said.

The Maldivian government, however, debunked the calculations and insisted on getting a forensic audit done through an international firm.

"We will go in for a forensic audit as we want to see how much money has poured in to GMR coffers through the Male International Airport and how much actual money has been spent here. As per our information, GMR has cashed in only $150 million of the about $350 loan it had bagged through a bank," Maldives President Mohamed Waheed's press secretary Masood Imad said.

Asked if GMR is open to a forensic audit, Kapur told PTI, "Our books are transparent. The concession agreement signed with Maldives government did not have the clause of forensic audit. Having said that, I must add that we don't have any objection to an audit but it has to come through proper legal process".

Sources in the Maldivian government say that the compensation amount, as per their calculations, should come to about a lower limit of $150 million and an upper limit of $350 million.

"We will present our case before the Singapore Court and let them take the call," a source said.

The $500 million airport project contract awarded to GMR for modernising and operating the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), signed in 2010 during the previous regime of Mohamed Nasheed, was "unilaterally" terminated by the current government on November 27.

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