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Case submitted to Parliament over alleged Zikra Mosque graft

Raif Amyl Jalyl
20 August 2019, MVT 22:16
Dr Mohamed Ziyad Bagir affirmed in the signing ceremony with SJ Construction that the Zikra Mosque would be completed by Ramadan this year. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU.
Raif Amyl Jalyl
20 August 2019, MVT 22:16

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Islamic Affairs Musab Abdulla submitted a case to the Parliament over alleged corruption concerning the former administration's agreement with SJ Construction to erect Zikra Mosque.

Civil Service Commission (CSC) imposed an unpaid suspension on Musab. The Permanent Secretary described the action as a result of undue influence to protect SJ Construction.

The company was awarded the MVR 130 million project to develop the 10 storey mosque on a Contractor Finance model on July 9, 2018. The previous government paid MVR 30 million to the company in advance as equity.

However, the incumbent administration nullified the agreement after SJ Construction failed to complete the project within the allocated time frame. In response, SJ Construction filed a case against the state seeking compensation.

Local media Mihaaru revealed that it had attained the copy of a report submitted to the parliament which detailed the previous government's contract with the company.

According to the report, SJ Construction was awarded the project under terms that benefit the company despite three other companies submitting proposals.

The report detailed that the land plot was handed to SJ Construction before the state approved blueprints of the mosque. Further, the report declared that the joint venture would result in losses for the State.

Moreover, the document, prepared by the Ministry of Finance for submission to the Economic and Youth Council, estimated that the state stood to receive MVR 24 million from 10 years of rent. However, the agreement states that SJ Construction would receive seven floors of the ten storey mosque for 10 years after construction was completed.

The first three floors would be used for the mosque.

According to the report, the MVR 30 million paid by the Islamic Ministry as equity was set to be paid back after 13 years.

The report alleged that the letter sent to seek contractors was deceitful as well.

Former Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Ziyad Bagir assured in the signing ceremony for the agreement that the first three floors of the building would be completed and opened for use by Ramadan this year.

However, SJ Construction is yet to commence any work despite a year passing since the project was awarded.

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