MPs raise concern over Addu power cuts, expenses for independence celebrations

MPs raise concern over Addu power cuts, expenses for independence celebrations
August 04 13:12 2015

Opposition MPs are raising questions over the government’s use of a budget of MVR150million (US$9.7million) for the Golden Jubilee of Independence celebrations and persistent power outages in southern Addu City

Rozaina Adam, an MP with the main Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), on Monday requested the Minister of Finance Abdulla Jihad to reveal to the People’s Majlis the details of government expenditure leading up to the July 26 celebration of 50 years of independence from the British.

The Majlis’ government accountability committee decided today to summon Mohamed Nimal, the managing director of state owned utility Fenaka Corporation, and Mohamed Nadheem, Fenaka chairman, to question them over the transfer of a 2.5 MW generator from Addu City to the capital Malé, despite continuing power cuts.

Rozaina was among the three MDP MPs who had asked the committee to summon Fenaka officials.

The generator was brought to Malé ahead of July 26 after an 8 MW generator at the Malé power plant suffered damages.

Speaking to Maldives Independent, Rozaina said she had requested Jihad for details of expenses on independence celebrations as “allegations about corruption and bribery regarding the celebrations are all over town.”

“While so much money was spent, and when the official banquet did not come close to the mark, we must look into the details of the expenditure,” said the MP for Addu Meedhoo constituency.

Streets, government buildings and trees in the city of Malé were decked in blinking red, green, and white lights for the celebrations. Several companies were awarded contracts without bidding, including the a contract worth MVR3.8million (US$246,433) handed to a caterer affiliated with the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).

Several diplomats and state dignitaries had complained over the poor quality of the food. The home ministry said it had received a special permit to award projects without bidding due to lack of time.

Jihad will now receive a 14-day notice to prepare answers for the Majlis floor.

Speaking on the decision to summon Fenaka officials over Addu City’s power outages, Rozaina said opposition MPs wanted to clarify under which terms the power generator was transferred to Malé and when it would be returned back to Addu City.

Pro-government MPs had previously blocked Rozaina’s attempts to raise the issue of Addu City power cuts. But all the MPs present at the government oversight committee today voted to summon Fenaka officials.

Rozaina said Addu City has been experiencing power shortages since early this year and that the city needed an additional 2.5 MW generator to address the issue.