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Graft watchdog halts school handover on alleged corruption

Aishath Mihna Nasih
08 November 2016, MVT 13:42
The former building of Fareedhiyya School where Lale Youth International School is currently run in Hulhumale. PHOTO/NIUMATHULLAH IDREES
Aishath Mihna Nasih
08 November 2016, MVT 13:42

The Anti-Corruption Commission of Maldives has ordered to halt the handover of the state-owned building of Fareedhiyya School in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale, in which Lale’ Youth International School is now operated, to another company over alleged corruption involved.

Fareedhiyya School building was put up for bid in September, which was won by Qualitat Education among three others who applied.

Though the government has yet to comment on the issue, the ACC sent an official letter to the education ministry to halt the awarding process which was scheduled for Wednesday, according to Mihaaru's sources. The ceremony has been subsequently called off, but neither the education ministry nor ACC has issued an official statement regarding the matter.

Qualitat Education is a new company which opened in July, two months prior to the bid opening. Qualitat had messaged the parents of Lale School's students, saying that the education ministry had informed them in a letter that they had won the bid. The company added that they will operate in partnership with The Gateway School, an independent school that caters to students with learning differences which operates in a number of countries including India, Sri lanka, United Kingdom and Oman.

For the last eight years, Lale School was managed by Biz Atoll Pvt Ltd, which had also bid for the school again with the lowest fee after their term ended. Qualitat had offered the second lowest bid. However, the winner is chosen based on the technical bid in addition to the financial, where the former consists of experience in the field, company potential and their plan for running the school. It is noteworthy that despite The Gateway School's remarkable experience in school management, Qualitat till date has no experience in the education field.

The shareholders of Qualitat also includes the wife of High Court's Chief Judge Abdulla Didi, Ganiya Abdul Ghafoor, and the wife of Judge Sujau Usman, Minnath Naseer. While Ganiya is the Deputy Ambassador of the Maldives to Malaysia, the two ladies' experience in the education field has not been confirmed.

Another shareholder includes Moosa Rasheed and his brother Mohamed Rasheed of Gaafu Dhaal atoll Fiyori island. Mohamed Rasheed has been teaching Mathematics in Ahmadiyya School in capital Male for a long period of time and currently holds the position of Senior Assistant Principle. His brother Moosa Rasheed was the former Deputy Principle of Lale School and several other schools within the atolls.

It is notable that spouses of High Court Judges are included in the list of persons banned from holding shares of business companies associated with foreign firms in the Anti-Corruption Commission Act.

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