Akram: ACC’s claims at the parliament highly irresponsible

Former State Minister for Housing Akram Kamaluddin speaks to press on November 7, 2023. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shathiu Abdulla)

Former State Minister for Housing Akram Kamaluddin has described Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s remarks at the parliament on Wednesday claiming 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 as highly irresponsible.

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.

Speaking at the committee, 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.

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.

Denying these claims, Akram, who played a lead role in works pertaining to the former administration’s housing scheme, said ACC members have been briefed on how changes occur to the marks generated by the portal when approved. He assured that no changes have been made to the marks of any applicant unjustly.

As an example of a circumstance under which the marks can change – Akram said if an applicant, in the application form has not mention having a child below the age of 18, their marks will be increased if the governments DNR portal shows the applicant does have a child below the age of 18.

“This is done for the benefit of the people. We have explained these things to the technical team,” he said.

Akram also gave an example of a circumstance under which the marks can decrease. In this regard, he said marks will be deducted if for instance the form says the bathroom of an apartment where three people reside is claimed to be used by more than three people, making it obvious that the provided information is false.

Speaking further, Akram said claims that could trigger public worry must not be made without proper investigation.

He also accused of political influence within ACC, adding the remarks were made to gain a personal benefit.

ACC’s President Adam Shamil described  'Gedhoruverin' portal as an exemplary portal at Wednesday’s committee meeting, claiming marks are only altered from the point humans are involved in the application process.

The permanent list of recipients of flats under the ‘Gedhoruveriya’ scheme was originally released on November 4.

At the time, the Housing Ministry 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.

The next day, dozens of protesters gathered at the Housing Ministry to express their displeasure.

They allege the assessment process had been unfair, that some applicants who had resided in Male’ for a fewer period of time had scored higher points, and that some lawmakers from the MDP and their family members were unfairly awarded flats.

The same day, the ACC instructed a halt to the issuance of the flats as it investigates the complaints.

While the process has been halted for a while now, the new housing minister, Dr. Ali Haidar, on Monday, said ACC has informed the government they will finish their investigation into the ‘Gedhoruveriya’ housing scheme within the next 20 days, adding that the Housing Ministry will work to resume work on the scheme once the investigation is done.