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"Millions spent by HDC on President Yameen's campaign"

17 October 2018, MVT 17:00
Housing Development Corporation (HDC)
17 October 2018, MVT 17:00

Housing Development Corporation (HDC)'s financial decline was attributed to the company spending millions on President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s presidential campaign, according to sources from local news Mihaaru.

The company is currently undergoing an audit due to excessive expenditure.

Mihaaru reports that as a solution to HDC's financial turmoil, the government declared that 400 plots of land, measuring at 1000 square feet, were to be sold for MVR 400,000 under the Hulhumale’ Phase 2. However, senior officials within the company have alleged that the issue arose as a result of hefty spending made to boost President Yameen’s campaign, on top of several ongoing high-cost projects.

HDC is yet to publicly confirm or deny any such allegations.

Sources revealed to Mihaaru that, in addition to the use of an HDC property as the main campaign hub, documents indicated that millions from the company budget was used to cover President Yameen's campaign costs.

According to the anonymous source reported on Mihaaru, the illegal expenditure started with the establishment of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ main Hulhumale’ campaign hub. Furthermore, it was revealed that all the expenditure of the campaign hub was undertaken through HDC.

“The setup of the office, the phone lines, SMS portals, computers, books and pencils were all procured through the HDC budget”, said the anonymous source.

Even though temporary staff were hired for the campaign office, according to the source, the majority of the staff were HDC employees. Additionally, although the activities such as sending SMS's, operating the call-centre and partaking in campaign activities were outside the scope of their HDC mandate, the salaries and overtime bonuses were also sourced from the HDC budget.

HDC employees had to work overtime (OT) for the campaign activities, in which they raised MVR 30,000 in OT for employees who earn a monthly salary of MVR10,000.

According to the source, the largest expenditure by HDC during the campaign was financing three daily meals for the employees. Reportedly, the company allocated MVR 40,000 – 50,000 of their budget for daily food allowances.

First lady Fathimath Ibrahim has also come under fire for allegations that HDC and other state institutions have spent on the first ladies’ circumcision campaign.

“It was not just the circumcision activities but the Eid celebrations, the children’s evenings and the gifts were all distributed within HDC’s expenditure” stated the anonymous source.

President Yameen’s campaign activities in Hulhumale’ resulted in the use of HDC’s equipment. The procurement of speakers and sound systems for campaign activities were undertaken also through expenditure from HDC’s budget.

Last week, HDC employees with their 169 signatories, filed a petition to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) stating that the company must adhere to anti-corruption policies and guidelines and expressed concerns over the corporation losing its path.

An ACC official has stated that the anti-corruption watchdog is investigating what was revealed in the petition.

HDC employees stated that the corporation, to recover from the financial losses incurred, was to sell the plots of land. However, the employees argued that the corporation will only generate MVR 10,000,000 by the sale of land plots and emphasized the amount as being insufficient to recover from the damages faced by the corporation.