Discount flats for state officials undermine trust: Transparency

Transparency Maldives has called on the state to refrain from providing “any form of gratuities and privileges to state officials” following the hand over of flats to high-ranking officials.

The government awarded luxury flats at discount prices to Supreme Court judges and four heads of independent bodies including the Anti-Corruption Commission in what it called an attempt to “ensure their integrity”.

The awarding of flats to state officials can be perceived as an attempt by the executive to exert undue influence, Transparency said.

While the state can provide privileges to state officials “based on need and limited to the duration of employment of individuals”, Transparency Maldives expressed concern that the flats are “permanently contracted by the executive to public officials holding time-bound positions of the state”.

“The offering of arbitrary privileges to public officials holding high-ranking positions and the acceptance of such privileges will undermine public trust in these institutions,” the anti-corruption NGO warned.

“TM also notes that upholding integrity in the performance of high-ranking public posts is an integral and core mandate of such positions, and should not be incentivised through handouts of property or other forms of personal enrichment.”

The government has defended its decision to offer discounts on the flats to selected judges and chiefs of independent bodies.

Co-chair of the Economic Council Ahmed Adeeb told a press conference last week that the apartments were awarded to “ensure the integrity of independent institutions”.

“The flats were not handed out. The recipients have to pay for them. This will result in ensured integrity of independent institutions and moreover it will strengthen the state,” he said.