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HDC begins reimbursing SeaLife housing fraud victims

Ahmed Aiham
15 January 2020, MVT 15:48
Concept designs of the housing units to be developed in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' by SeaLife Global. PHOTO: MIHAARU FILES
Ahmed Aiham
15 January 2020, MVT 15:48

Housing Development Corporation (HDC) on Tuesday, began compensating flat buyers who had paid booking fees for the 3,000 housing units that 'SeaLife Global' failed to construct in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale'.

SeaLife Global was contracted by HDC in 2014 during the tenure of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. There are 203 individuals seeking reimbursement from SeaLife. A total of MVR 45 million is owed to the victims of the housing fraud.

The Managing Director of Sea Life Global, Ahmed Moosa Mohamed (Ammaty), fled Maldives after the case surfaced. Interpol has issued a red notice for Ahmed Moosa.

In July 2019, the government reached a settlement agreement mandating the state to compensate the flat buyers.

Under the agreement, the state would utilize the MVR 12 million, owed to SeaLife by the state, to compensate the people. The money was originally owed to SeaLife after the company sued the state for overruling the agreement between the then-Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) administration and SeaLife in 2011, under which the latter was contracted to develop 80 housing units.

The state will also utilize the USD 1 million (MVR 15.4 million) paid by SeaLife as the project's 'performance guarantee' for reimbursement purposes.

According to HDC's Managing Director Suhail Ahmed, the decision to compensate losses incurred by flat buyers was noted by the government as the best course of action due to a significant number of citizens that fell victim to the fraud.

However, the state-run company vowed to recover any indirect or direct damages borne by HDC due to the settlement agreement.

The contract between HDC and SeaLife in 2014 forbade taking more than MVR 50,000 as payments prior to a 20 percent completion of the project. However, some individuals had paid up to MVR 1 million as booking fees for the apartment. Despite SeaLife violating the terms of this agreement, no actions were taken by relevant institutions.

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