The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has uncovered corruption in the flagship-housing programme Veshifahi Malé, with officials accused of violating the programme’s publicised vetting procedures in grading applications.
The Veshi Fahi Male’ de-congestion programme was a project of the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) under its manifesto pledge to provide affordable housing.
The project was launched on November 10, 2010 to ease congestion in the capital and develop the Greater Male’ Region, composed of Hulhumale’, Vili-Male’, Thilafushi industrial island and Gulhifalhu.
In a statement on Thursday, the ACC ordered the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure to invalidate applications of 139 of 448 individuals who had been deemed eligible for flats under the category C.
Long-time residents of Malé City are eligible for flats under the C category.
Officials had accepted incomplete and or falsified information and failed to cross check the validity of documents in grading applications in the categories of period of residency in Malé, period registered on Malé City’s municipal roster, duration of marriage and employment, salary, spouse’s salary and number of children under 18, the ACC said.
According to the ACC, of the 139 invalid applications, 111 of the applicants or their spouses already owned a plot of land measuring 600 square feet or had already received a flat under a separate government housing programme.
A further 33 were not even registered on the Malé City’s municipal roster. An additional eleven had submitted false information and the police have been asked to take action, the ACC said.
The ACC has ordered the Ministry of Housing to annul the list of individuals eligible for flats under category C and restart the grading process.
Approximately 125,000 people are believed to reside in about 16,000 households in Male’- the total number of households in the Maldives is estimated to be 46,000.