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Page added on October 26, 2011

ACC forwards cases against senior officials of Thilafushi Corporation for prosecution

ACC forwards cases against senior officials of Thilafushi Corporation for prosecution thumbnail

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has concluded its investigation into alleged corruption committed by the Thilafushi Corporation Ltd (TCL) in awarding a land reclamation project to Heavy Load Maldives – a family business of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairman ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik – and sent cases against three senior TCL officials for prosecution.

The three members of the bid evaluation committee facing corruption charges are Managing Director Mohamed Wafir, Director Mohamed Adhil Rasheed and former Acting Manager Ibrahim Riyaz.

A statement put out by the ACC yesterday noted that the US$21 million project was not awarded with the advice of the TCL board and in violation of the government-owned company’s operating procedures.

The ACC investigation found that TCL provided US$3 million to Heavy Load as a mobilisation payment without the approval of either the engineer or the board’s majority.

Moreover, TCL accepted three vessels worth US$1.8 million as advance payment security without a valuation of the vessels. The security document was signed by a director of Heavy Load Maldives while a board resolution from the company authorising the director to sell or mortgage assets was not submitted.

Based on its finding, the ACC concluded that the three evaluation committee members tried to “illegally benefit a particular party” in the awarding of the project.

In addition, the ACC found that TCL was in the process of revising the project and replacing its engineer, Abdulla Ziyad, as the contractor appeared unlikely to complete the project on time.

The dredging was part of TCL’s development of a new port catering to 15,000 ton cargo ships and container terminal, on 3.8 million square foot of land. The industrial zone development project is partly intended to free up land currently occupied by the port in Male’, one of the most densely populated cities in the world at over 100,000 people per square kilometre.

Meanwhile, in a second statement put out today, the ACC revealed that it had also requested the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) to prosecute TCL’s Corporate and Legal Affairs Manager Mohamed Latheef as he had failed to provide a copy of a board resolution approving the decision to sue the ACC after it ordered the project to be halted.

Latheef had assured the ACC on August 21 that he would send a copy to the commission, the statement noted.

TCL sued the ACC on April 21 claiming the commission’s order to stop work on the US$21 million Thilafushi reclamation project was not legally justifiable.

In April, TCL lawyer Mazlan Rasheed argued at the Civil Court that the ACC did not have legal authority to order the government corporation to scrap the project, which was was both “irresponsible” and “unlawful” as the order was made before the commission completed its investigation process.

TCL therefore requested that the Civil Court declare the ACC order unlawful, he said.

ACC lawyer Areef Ahmed Naseer however denied the claims, insisting that the commission acted within legal bounds.

Heavy Load Maldives was awarded the US$21 million project on September 30 last year, and inaugurated the project on February 4, 2011.

MP Moosa Manik told Minivan News in February this year that the commission’s order was politically motivated, claiming that “there is a part of the ACC that is not free and fair.”

“PA’s Deputy Leader [Ahmed] Nazim is very close with one of the commission members, [Abdulla] Hilmy, which needs closer investigation,” Moosa claimed. “I am a strong part of this government and I think this is a political trick. I haven’t even been into the Heavy Load office in one and a half months because of my campaigning [in the local council elections]. It is run by my family, my children.”

In an audio clip of a leaked phone call between Nazim and MP Abdulla Yameen that emerged in July 2010, the Deputy Speaker is heard to say that he has “given warnings” to ACC members to issue a press release, presumably regarding dismissed Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem.

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16 Comments on "ACC forwards cases against senior officials of Thilafushi Corporation for prosecution"

  1. aa on Wed, 26th Oct 2011 8:40 PM 

    the anti-corruption law needs to be tougher. but sadly we have elected the most corrupted people like moosa to the parliament. i doubt how this will help the fight against corruption.

  2. peasant on Wed, 26th Oct 2011 11:29 PM 

    There is a clear conflict of interest here, while being closely affiliated with the govt and serving as an MP; a company affiliated to him should never have been awarded.

    To me this is akin to corruption, it is against the spirit of transparency, fairness and good governance.

    This man undermines everything the party purports to stand for, which negates real concerns and issues put forward by the govt not least with regard to our insane judiciary.

  3. Nash Rafeeq on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 7:11 AM 

    Welcome to new Maldives. Same as the old Maldives but with more in your face corruption

  4. Radhun on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 7:25 AM 

    Surely there seems to be so many descrepencies in awarding the project to Heavy Load. Moosa cannot deny that he is not involved in day to day work at HL office. He sits daily in HL spore office when ever he is in Singapore.
    Govt announced restructure of Exch Rate 25 days after HL was paid the advance payment. Exch Diff was another elicit gain to HL.
    HL equipment mortgage – valuation was done by HL themselves and TLC did not protest for a professional evaluation.

    Now Moosa Manik is crying aloud to remove PG why bcos PG Office is preparing legal action against TLC and he fear laibilties and financila loses.

    So I wouldnt be surprised Moosa Manik’s supremacy statements cos he needs to do everything stop this legal action.

  5. Mohamed Aleem on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 10:15 AM 

    Maldivians and responsible journalists now have to learn not to take things at face level and sensationalize rather dig into the facts and go into investigative journalism. If you read between the lines of all articles published so far, which i have, you will see the following pattern:

    (1) TCL was functioning for almost 2 years without any progress. directors were getting their fat salaries doing nothing. It was that “kuni” ukaa site company. no one saw the potential.

    (2) When the dredging bid was announced, TCL said no one tendered for contractor financing deal.

    (3) Then the company went into negotiation with parties who submitted the bids (Boskalis, HL, MTCC ). My take is, decision to go for negotiation is a good one. everyone goes into negotiated contracts, many govt corporations do, TCL did not do it for the first time in history and its not a cardinal sin. sometimes biddng do not necessary guarantee you the best price. Some people negotiate even after bid is awarded, as long as the price didn’t go up, its fine.

    (4) Boskalis rate was very high as reported in haveeru (some 30 million) and payments were to be made on monthly basis, HL was dredging rate was below market rate (21 million), but payment spread across 3 years with an advance payment, MTCC rate was lower than HL, but project took 2 years to finish.

    (5) The decision was made to award to HL. Who wouldn’t with a 3 year payment plan! as far as the mathematics was concerned, it is a good call! but then again business is not only to do with mathematics. the only problem with that business decision was the HL was owned by a really annoying politician.

    (6) And HL did start the project and today TCL has earned over $2.5 million advance from tenants who have paid to occupy that land. The demand was overwhelming but it was so under reported in the news. but the fact is this is progress! not regress or failure. And in the second round of bidding, they will even earn more. The balance sheet of TCL would look real good this year compared to what it was last year.

    (7) the powers that maybe, including the press, will try to smudge this story, but the fact remains, some stories with far more glorified public persona, such as Gulhifalhu (thilafushi’s immediate neighbor)- has announced that they will build universities, warehouses, housing projects and even claimed that they will dredge more than 9 Ha that they already have in october 2011, but none of this has happened but yet this story is less sensational than TCLs.

    (8) Gulhifalhu 9 Ha which is still there today was dredged a far more unit cost than the 50+ Ha dredged at Thilafushi. And no Maldivian seems to be bothered by that fact that Gulhifalhu (a major chunk of Greater Male’ area – city area of Maldives) is outsourced to a company owned by a tamil descendent! Raj Manivan of Global Housing Project!

    (9) thilafushi has been able to offer land at Mrf 1.5 per sqft (compared to 3+ at gulhifalhu Raj Manivan is charging Maldivians to occupy his leased land in greater male’ area) and when all the big businesses submitted tenders to thilafushi – we still want to grill this company for their success and the offer simply because we don’t like Reeko Moosa???

    i can now understand why TCL has been unable to proceed and get necessary loan – who would in this hostile environment –

    we are getting in the way of good progress and focusing more on the hot stories we can talk about at coffees.

    lets all move to another level of thinking and discussion and read between lines of the tabloid news!

  6. Ahmed on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 10:31 AM 

    Have we all forgiven Yaamin and his corruption? its almost as if him being corrupt is a given and something that passes in the under current. God can only imagine the extent to which they influence our judiciary and is getting in the way of a peaceful democracy being put in place for the sake of loosing their power grip to hide all the ill begotten cash they have amassed.

    Who would believe Yamin to be that wealthy just with his government salary all these years.

  7. Hussain on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 10:44 AM 

    I thought TCL had 5 board members, Ok Zahir, Shahdy Anwar, Ibrahim Riyaz, Ahmed Rasheed, Mohamed Wafir. If bid was evaluated by 3 members of the board – wouldn’t that still give majority 3/5?

  8. Mohamed Thaufeeg on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 11:23 AM 

    This country is going into a very bad pattern. Every corner, every coffee shop, every 2nd person you meet has something to say about someone in govt. This person, that company, that politician – everyone seems to be corrupt or there is something wrong with them. Find me one person in this system who is good! NO ONE!

    what does this say about our focus. I agree with @Mohamed Aleem,

    we need to start thinking of progress, our economy and our well being. whatever said and done, today it is far more easier to get rich than the times of maumoon when everything was held in the hands of selected favored people of the dictator.

    There are far more opportunities out there.

    only damn problem is we are too engrossed with the gossip, we don’t do anything but complain about others.

  9. ACC is so Dumb! on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 11:26 AM 

    ACC does not need to charge this against Latheef!

    Simply because when a case is filed in court, the case file is available to the accused. So ACC would have the document in their possession.

    THEY DONT NEED TO ASK TCL TO GIVE IT TO THEM.

    What is this saying about ACC and their attitude towards this case?

  10. Heavy Thoughts on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 12:17 PM 

    If the bidding stage was over as said and if TCL decided to go into negotiated contract, why should they still follow bidding guidelines, it should then be best practices of governance and how much risk company is willing to take to get the deal through.

  11. REE-GO MOOSA on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 1:01 PM 

    AVERAGE WAREHOUSING COST IN GREATER MALE’ REGION

    MALE’ – MRF 24 PER SQFT.
    GULHIFALHU – MRF 3 PER SQFT
    THILAFUSHI – MRF 1.5 PER SQFT

    I AM FULLY IN SUPPORT OF RECLAIMING THILAFUSHI EVEN IF IT IS BY REEKO, FEEKO OR MEEGO MOOSA.

  12. c-bag on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 3:55 PM 

    ACC is struggling to fight corruption within that agency. And what about those other corruption allegations? I dont care if it is the great owl, anybody who is corrupt should be investigated. and ACC is miserably failing us.

  13. rasheed on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 5:13 PM 

    a corrupt president with bunch of corrupt associates

  14. john campbell on Fri, 28th Oct 2011 5:36 PM 

    biz attol should be investigated.

  15. ahmed on Sat, 29th Oct 2011 2:53 PM 

    if the bid was awarded at above the normal dredging market rate, then there is definite corruption and prospect of “naa jaizu faidhaa”.

    but in this case, the average rate is well below the rate at which even gulhifalhu was reclaimed.

    This puts into question why wasn’t gulhifalhu able to reclaim at this cost and why did it cost so much more than thilafushi as well.

  16. john campbell on Mon, 31st Oct 2011 5:19 AM 

    looks like they didnt pay-off the right people………they could learn something from biz-attol & LALE school…….


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