Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) launched an investigation into the government's decision to award the reclamation project of Gulhifalhu, Kaafu Atoll to Dutch dredging company Boskalis Westminster Contracting Ltd, without bid for USD 53 million (MVR 817 million).
ACC spokesperson Hassan Manik revealed that the corruption watchdog commenced the probe under its own initiative.
The public has raised questions concerning the decision to handover such a costly project without a bidding process, with some calling for greater transparency from the government in contracting major projects.
Ministry of National Planning and Infrastructure stated that the project was awarded to Boskalis under the Public Finance Act without bid, noting that Boskalis was chosen based on technical expertise considering the magnitude and high cost of the reclamation project.
As per the contract, Boskalis is to reclaim 16 million cubic metres and establish a 4-kilometre seawall at Gulhifalhu, which is being developed as an industrial island. The project is set to be completed within a period of 180 days.
Recently, most reclamation projects are contracted to Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) which commissioned a large dredger, 'Mahaa Jarraaf', in 2017 to boost its capacity.
MTCC stated that the company did not possess the capacity to complete the Gulhifalhu reclamation project using 'Mahaa Jarraaf' within the period allocated by the government. However, MTCC noted that the project could be completed if its resources were increased.