ACC: Flats awarded to ineligible applicants by tampering with marks

People protest inside Planning Ministry over point allocations in the permanent list of flat recipients under 'Gendhoruvariya' scheme.

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), on Wednesday, said their probe revealed that the marks of applicants who submitted forms for flats via 'Gedhoruverin' portal were tampered with by some of the officials who are tasked with approving the forms.

ACC members were summoned to the Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee on Wednesday over ACC’s order to halt the issuance of flats under ‘Gedhoruveriya’ housing scheme after the permanent list of recipients was publicized.

ACC’s President Adam Shamil said that the commission received complaints from 325 people when the permanent list of flat recipients was publicized initially on November 4th.

He reasoned that the commission requested to halt the issuance of flats in order to provide additional time to submit complaints and probe how the points were awarded as the applicants had no way to verify whether they had received the correct marks.

While a revised permanent list was publicized on November 15th – Shamil stressed that the Housing Ministry had still failed to adequately address the amendments proposed by ACC to the initial list.

ACC’s Vice President Abdul Salaam detailed concerns noted by the commission when they asked to halt the issuance of the flats. He particularly noted officials tasked with approving the marks for forms submitted via 'Gedhoruverin' portal tampering with the marks despite the portal autogenerating the correct allocation of marks.

“For example, the applicant is ineligible based on the documents submitted, then, the system will autogenerate as ineligible. However, we have taken note of this being changed to eligible at the approval level,” he said.

Two examples were put forth by Salaam in this trajectory.

One, an applicant who does not have a child being awarded marks for having a child despite having stated in the application that he or she is not a parent, while it is also evident from the system of the Department of National Registration that the applicant does not have a child.  

In second, he noted applicants being deemed eligible despite documents providing that the applicant is not a Male’ resident.

Salaam emphasized that ACC had asked to halt the issuance of flats after the revised permanent list was publicized to further probe the case as the commission’s investigative team, despite a comprehensive probe, did not find that any changes were made to the initial list in light of concerns relayed by the commission earlier.

Supporting the points made by Salaam, Shamil described 'Gedhoruverin' portal as an exemplary portal, adding marks are only altered from the point humans are involved in the application process.

The two processes with human involvement in this regard, are the ‘verifiers’ process where the information provided in the form is verified, and the ‘approval’ process where the forms are approved. While a number of officials are involved in the ‘verifiers’ process, only a few people are involved in the ‘approval’ process.

“We have been forced to probe into the case because of the things that have taken place during these two processes. Allegations have been made by people over things that have taken place at these points, including tampering with the marks among other things,” he said.

Housing Ministry, when they publicized the permanent list of the flat recipients, said the recipients of the 4,000 units currently under construction by the Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation (FDC) on the list of recipients for three-bedroom flats had all received upwards of 76 marks.

Meanwhile, the recipients of the 4,000 units on the list of two-bedroom flats had all received upwards of 73 marks.