Hulhumale’ medical facility built on private land, sparks fear of financial loss for state

Hulhumale' Medical Facility photo: Health Ministry

Male’, Maldives – A compliance audit conducted on the expenses of National Disaster Management Center (NDMA), by the Auditor General’s Office has revealed that the Covid-19 medical facility built in Hulhumale’ by the state has been built on a private land.

According to the report of the audit, on 29th March, 2020, a hand over agreement was signed between NDMA and Housing Development Corporation (HDC), regarding a 42,170 square feet land on which a temporary 300 bed Covid-19 medical facility has now been built.

However, it has come to light, that this land is a private land, which has been pawned to the Mauritius Commercial Bank, at the value of USD 4,315,153.75 by the owner, and that the Civil Court of Maldives has granted the bank authority to sell the land to cover losses, as the landlord has failed to repay the loan taken from the bank.

It was also revealed that upon the decision to build the facility at the site, a handover agreement was signed between the bank and HDC, for a period of three months, on 24th March, 2020, conditioning that no changes should be brought to the existing concrete structure on the land and that any additional changes must be declared in writing.

NDMA, in the report is said to have maintained that the decision to build the facility at the site, was a joint decision by the National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) and the National Covid-19 task force.

While the agreement between Mauritius Commercial Bank and HDC stipulates that the duration of handover may be extended upon mutual agreement, the audit report by the Auditor General’s Office highlighted concerns that the state may be required to make expenses on a privately owned land, if the Covid-19 situation extends.

Hence, it was advised in the report to coordinate with relevant institutions to formulate a plan on the utilization of the land and the building, as well as to make proceedings to ensure that no conflicts of ownership occur with regards to the land and the building on it.