Hiya Project: China Construction Company under the radar of ACC

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The Hiya project was launched by the then President Abdulla Yameen with state-owned enterprises to finance the construction of flats in Hulhumale.

The incumbent President’s office has always raised debate surrounding the design and estimated rent of the flats developed under the ‘Hiyaa Project’ and had also asked Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate decisions taken regarding Hiya public housing scheme irregularities and discriminatory allocation of flats.

Recently the country’s watchdog, ACC raised concerns that the project was awarded to the party which submitted the most expensive bid. ACC’s spokesperson, Deputy Director Hassan Manik said, “We have opened an investigation into the bidding process based on this”
Reportedly, five companies proposed for the Hiya housing project. The chosen company proposed to complete the project at a cost of USD 62,000 per housing unit. The company with the second-highest proposed expenses had proposed USD 10,000 less per housing unit and the other companies proposed expenses in the range between USD 50,000 and USD 52,000.

The project, awarded to China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), was undertaken with a USD 437 million loan from the EXIM bank of China along with a sovereign guarantee from the government, at an interest of six percent. A period of five years to repay 15 percent of the loan, and 15 years to settle the remaining amount was granted to the Maldivian government.

An audit was further conducted to review the rates of the units set by Yameen’s administration, it was later found out that the rates set were economically unfeasible. Report also stated that a debt of USD 583 million would be drawn in net cash flow in a 25-year period time which is higher than the amount stated by the previous administrator.

The President’s Office has stated that action will be taken against those identified in the report published regarding Hiyaa flats, though no name has been mentioned.