The current administration formed a five-member committee of Malé City Council Members, citing the importance of the council’s involvement in key decisions in relations to the Binveriya and Gedhoruveriya schemes, without the council’s knowledge, Malé Mayor Adam Azim has said.

Housing Minister Ali Haider formed a five-member committee in consultation with the Ministry of Cities, Local Government and Public Works with the stated intent of ensuring the involvement of the Malé City Council in significant decisions relating to the previous administration’s schemes.

Council Members on the committee include Mariyam Nazima Mohamed Faiz, Aishath Nizlee Rasheed, Ahmed Aifan, Hassan Nizam and Mohamed Areesh.

The council recently sent a communique to the Housing Ministry seeking greater participation in determining the allocation of land and flats. However, a committee including council members was formed without any consultation with the council, Azim said.

“There were no consultations on the formation of the committee with the Malé City Council. It is the minister’s own committee,” Azim told local media.

Committees involving the city council are formed with the consent of the mayor under consultations with council members, he said.

While the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently investigating alleged irregularities in the allocation of land under their social housing schemes, the commission determined that out of the list of beneficiaries of the first 4,000 flats under the Binveriya scheme 59 percent of beneficiaries did not meet the scheme’s requirements. The commission also determined that there were significant issues when it came to 19.7 percent of eligible applicants who have been given flats.

The previous administration had decided to award flats to all the eligible applicants for the Binveriya scheme, even though 4,000 units were initially announced. Of the 20,697 applicants 15,046 were determined to be eligible.

The first 4,000 flats will be given to those who scored more than 76 points for three-bedroom apartments and more than 73 points for two-bedroom apartments.

Following the ACC investigations, and recommendations, the Housing Ministry decided to re-evaluate the flat list. However, President Mohamed Muizzu had previously pledged to uphold the previous administration’s gazetted list of beneficiaries.

Meanwhile former Minister of State for Housing, Akram Kamaluddin, on social media, accused President Muizzu of creating a quandary for the beneficiaries by not handing over their land and flats.

The ministry said in a statement on Thursday that most had not collected the registry or land acquisition documents despite being given an additional opportunity to sign the agreements for the land. Those who have not signed, accepted the land registry nor collected the land allocation certificate will be given the opportunity to fulfil the requirements starting Tuesday until Wednesday, 27 of March at 11:59 pm, the statement clarified.

Appointments to hand over the document can be made through the Binveriya Portal, the statement said.

Kamaluddin, however, slammed the actions of the current administration laying heavy blame on the president and his administration.

According to Kamaluddin, with the change in administrations, the assigning of plots were halted and beneficiaries were given the run-around when they inquired on the Housing ministry regarding progress of allocations.

While the beneficiaries were in the dark, the president was running a ‘false hope programme’ contrary to what he said, he alleged.

“Then he is saying that the registry can be handed over by making an appointment through the portal. It is very difficult for beneficiaries to access the portal. It is not easy,” Kamaluddin said, referring to the latest ministry announcement.

He said the deadline for making an appointment is too short and he does not know what will happen to those who do not get an appointment.

Kamaluddin alleged that “the ministry is not clearly telling us what should happen, withdrawing plots from those who do not come and distributing them to those President Muizzu wants.” Things cannot be done this way and as such the beneficiaries will raise their voices, he added.

Some have alleged corruption in determining beneficiaries under the previous administration’s social housing schemes; a charge the ACC investigations are looking into.

An advisory committee has now been formed, on the advice of the president, to review applications for the previous administration’s schemes in a bid to determine the validity of current allocations and to shape future social housing scheme undertakings.