Maldives graft watchdog probes alleged housing ministry corruption

Road Development project in Male

Road development project in capital Male. PHOTO/MIHAARU

The Maldives graft watchdog has begun probing into Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure’s corruption issues brought to light in the Audit Report released by the Auditor General’s Office in 2014.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s Vice President Muawwiz Rasheed declared that the commission is currently investigating claims of corruption in awarding road construction projects stated in the Audit Report.

The details of the scandal were published by Auditor General Hassan Ziyath in the Audit Report of the Housing Ministry in 2014, underlining serious and concerning cases of corruption within the institution.

However, the Housing Ministry has remained silent on the matter.

Cases of alleged corruption in the Housing Ministry highlighted in the Audit Report 2014:

  • Housing Ministry awarded MVR 120 million against procedure to construct roads of seven islands, and given MVR 12 million to projects not stated in the budget.
  • MVR 1.5 million has still not been received by the state after the ministry rented Dharubaaruge convention centre in capital Male.
  • The exact amount of cash stored in the ministry’s safe is uncertain.
  • Over MVR 500,000 spent against financial regulations without formal contracts.
  • A staff was recruited against Civil Service procedures and was given over MVR 52,000 as salary and allowances.
  • The ministry has not submitted its financial statement detailing its budget expenditures and revenue to the Audit Office.
  • Records of the ministry’s assets have not been maintained properly.

With all mentioned concerns, the Auditor General had mostly stressed the lack of the ministry’s financial statements submitted to the Audit Office despite several reminders. According to the Audit Report, the financial statements Had not been submitted in the years 2012 and 2013 as well.

The Auditor General has also requested to retrieve the money owed to the state as mentioned in the Constitution.

Speaking to Mihaaru, the Manager Technical of the Audit Office Mohamed Naseem expressed hopes that the Housing Ministry will be held responsible by the parliament’s Financial Committee and Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

“A huge amount of the state’s capital expenditure is run through the Housing Ministry. If such a ministry is mismanaged thus, it would delay the developments targeted by the government.”

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