Nearly all services at Malé City Council have come to a halt after police confiscated important documents and several hard drives, including the server system necessary for daily operation.
Police searched and confiscated the council’s office last night (November 26) after a search warrant was issued by the Criminal Court on request from the Maldives Police Service regarding a corruption case against council staff members.
The warrant, signed by the Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, said that “some council staff had shared and gained unlawful advantages from some PDF files sent to the council by Maldives Land and Survey Authority.”
The survey authority and the land registration project fall under the authority of the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure.
The council has denied receiving any such files from the ministry or any other authority, stating that the council had previously provided information to the housing ministry and if any information had been sent back it would have originated from the council.
Council members told the media today that it was concerns it would be unable to prepare Friday prayer sermons, and that the waste management section might come to a halt as a direct result of the Police confiscating the server.
Deputy Mayor Shifa Mohamed said the council is now unable to receive any payments, expressing fears that human resources would be unable to pay the council’s 1000 employees this month.
Malé City Mayor Mohamed Shahib said that the MPS also confiscated information gathered by the council to write up a study on providing alternative methods to solve the housing issue faced by the city.
Council vs government
Maafannu Hulhangu constituency councillor Shamau Shareef said the incident is one of many intended to intimidate the council and to prevent it from providing the services to the people of Malé.
Shifa has previously suggested that the government was plotting to ‘destroy decentralisation’ after the housing ministry seized numerous plots of land from the council including two parks, artificial beach, carnival area, south harbour area, Usfasgandu, Dharubaaruge, and land near the T-Jetty.
Last month, she complained that poor allocation of funds for road development projects under the council as one of the main reasons behind the severe floodings on the western side of the capital island during heavy downpours.
Shamau said today that the council had no choice but to resort to “begging” the Maldives Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) to assist it setting up flood control pumps which promise a temporary solution to the problem.
October also saw masked individuals wielding machetes uprooting over thirty council owned areca palm trees on the sides of the capital’s main thoroughfare road Majeedhee Magu.
Following a further disagreement over the replanting of the vandalised trees, the cabinet announced it had removed the council’s jurisdiction over the city’s roads.
The roads are now under the control of the housing ministry and the Maldives Road Development Corporation (MRDC) which has started cleaning the drains, bringing some alleviation to the flooding.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed alleged police involvement in the chopping down of the palm trees while naming several Special Operations (SO) officers after the MCC requested the public to submit any information about the issue.
Shamau also stressed the poor fund allocation towards the road development projects in Malé which only has a mere MVR 3.4 million (US$ 220,00) while pointing out that a new elevator at the president’s office has been budgeted MVR 3 million (US$ 200,000).
Related to this story