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Ministry resumed issuing of Hulhumale land plots in violation of ACC's order

Fathmath Shaahunaz
09 October 2018, MVT 20:58
Aerial view of various development work in Hulhumale Phase Two.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
09 October 2018, MVT 20:58

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has revealed that the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure did not make the amendments ordered by ACC before resuming the issuing of land plots from Hulhumale Phase Two.

The graft watchdog had ordered the housing ministry to halt issuing land on Sunday, soon after the ministry announced that 400 land plots of 1,000 square feet are to be sold to citizens of capital Male City, at a rate of MVR 400,000, from reclaimed suburb Hulhumale's second phase of development. ACC had stated that it was looking into issues of alleged unlawful practices and corruption involved in the proceedings.

Following the investigation, ACC ordered the ministry to make certain amendments with regards to the issues raised, before selling land from Hulhumale. However, the housing ministry declared on Tuesday that ACC had permitted the ministry to proceed with the project, and began to accept application forms for the land plots.

In a statement, ACC shared that its investigation into the issue revealed that the housing ministry began to issue land from Hulhumale Phase Two with permission from the President's Office. The office's Economic and Youth Council had decided to sell 400 plots of land, at a rate of MVR 300-400 per square foot, from Phase Two especially for the citizens of Male in need of housing.

In accordance with the President's Office decision, ACC stated that, after its investigation, it ordered the housing ministry to first compile and publicise the ministry's policy on issuing state-owned plots for social housing, and the criteria to determine which citizens are eligible to receive them.

However, when Housing Minister Dr. Mohamed Muizzu proclaimed on Tuesday afternoon that ACC has permitted the ministry to resume issuing land, the ministry had not compiled and publicised this policy.

In its statement, ACC had further ordered the housing ministry to announce the issuing of land in advance, and to provide a sufficient time frame for citizens to submit applications. The commission instructed the ministry to then evaluate the forms received and proceed with the issuing of land.

Furthermore, ACC's statement also revealed that the President's Office had informed Housing Development Corproation (HDC), in whose jurisdiction Hulhumale lies, that social housing projects will take place in the land plots previously allocated for industrial purposes in Hulhumale Phase Two. According to HDC, the reason for selling land plots from Phase Two is to solve the current difficulties in HDC's cash flow.

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