An independent committee will be tasked with managing the handover of flats under the ‘Gedhoruveriya’ social housing scheme, Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Development Dr Ali Haidar Ahmed has confirmed.

The scheme, initiated by the previous administration, has been under scrutiny following an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) into alleged irregularities in the allocation of flats. The ACC launched the investigation in November 2023, responding to public grievances.

The ACC’s investigation revealed that approximately 60 percent of the recipients, finalised by the previous administration’s housing ministry, did not meet the established eligibility criteria. The commission also identified discrepancies in 19.7 percent of the flat application forms, leading to a suspension of the handover of flats.

The commission has since forwarded a list of eligible candidates to the housing ministry. In response to queries from the Parliament Committee on National Development and Heritage, Ahmed stated that the ministry had decided to set up an independent committee to oversee the handover of the flats to the eligible candidates.

“The transition of property ownership will be conducted under the guidance of the designated committee. We are in the process of making the requisite preparations. The commencement of the handover process is contingent upon our access to the [Gedhoruveriya online] portal,” Ahmed said. The ACC has yet to grant the ministry access to the portal, according to him.

While the ACC had earlier requested the ministry proceed with the handover of the flat to those eligible candidates, Ahmed said the ministry would do so after seeking legal counsel on the matter. Mohamed Faiz, the Minister of State for Housing, also confirmed to the local media earlier that the ministry was seeking the counsel of the Attorney General.

Earlier this week, the ministry faced public criticism following media reports suggesting it had decided to annul the flat allocation list. The ministry categorically refuted these claims, asserting its commitment to ensuring the rightful allocation of flats.

The ACC’s probe into the evaluation of applications under the Gedhoruveriya scheme has also drawn the ire of the public and parliamentarians over its perceived “interference” in the allocation of the flats, with experts challenging the legality of the ACC’s interference with the flat list, labelling it an act of “corruption.”