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Housing Ministry disregards ACC order to halt issuing Hulhumale land plots

Fathmath Shaahunaz
07 October 2018, MVT 22:21
People queue up in front of housing ministry for application forms to buy land from Hulhumale Phase Two. PHOTO/SOCIAL MEDIA
Fathmath Shaahunaz
07 October 2018, MVT 22:21

The Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) are in conflict over the ministry's refusal to obey ACC's demand to halt the issuing of land plots from Hulhumale Phase Two.

The housing ministry had announced Sunday afternoon that 400 land plots of 1,000 square feet will be sold to citizens of capital Male City, at a rate of MVR 400,000, from reclaimed suburb Hulhumale's second phase of development. In the press conference, Minister Dr. Mohamed Muizzu shared that applications will be available from 4:00 p.m. Sunday until coming Thursday. The ministry stated that it will begin accepting form submissions on Monday, and that land recipients will be decided in a draw to be held next week.

However, soon after the press conference, the graft watchdog ordered the housing ministry to stop issuing application forms.

In a letter to Dr. Muizzu, ACC stated that the commission is currently looking into complaints submitted regarding the ministry's decision to issue land from Hulhumale Phase Two. Highlighting that the issues raised were of unlawful practices and possible corruption in the proceedings, the commission ordered to temporarily cease issuing of land until the investigation is complete.

Despite the ACC's order, the ministry is still issuing application forms for land buyers. Several citizens of Male queued up in front of the ministry on Sunday afternoon and evening, while the form is also available for download on the ministry's website.

The ministry has yet to make any comments to the media regarding its refusal to comply with ACC's order.

The housing ministry announced its decision to issue land from Hulhumale Phase Two amidst requests from President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's office, for the government to cease commencement of any new projects during the ongoing transition of power. Solih's Director of Transition Ahmed Latheef had also discussed the issue with ACC's members earlier on Sunday.

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