Rehendhi flat arranged for vice president

Rehendhi flat arranged for vice president
July 27 13:38 2016

Accommodation for Vice President Abdulla Jihad has been arranged at the Rehendhi luxury apartment complex in Malé.

Ibrahim Shihab, a spokesman for the president’s office, confirmed that two out of ten state-owned apartments in the Rehendhi complex have been allotted for the new vice president.

“The first flat is to be used by the vice president as his accommodation. The second one is for his security detail to be used as an office for their operations as the vice president needs 24-hour security,” he told the Maldives Independent.

Former vice presidents resided in the statehouse Hilaaleege but President Abdulla Yameen moved there in March.

Yameen previously lived in his private residence, Galolhu Dhoovehi, which he swapped for a larger plot of land in May.

In April 2014, the pro-government majority in parliament made it mandatory for the state to cover expenses of the president’s private residence.

Before Yameen moved out in March, the state reportedly spent MVR1.9 million (US$123,200) on Dhoovehi every month.

The official presidential residential, Muleeaage, is meanwhile being used by the first couple for meetings and official functions.

In January, the anti-corruption watchdog ruled out corruption in the sale of eight Rehendhi flats to Supreme Court justices and the heads of independent institutions.

Hassan Luthfy, president of the Anti-Corruption Commission, was among the senior officials who were awarded a luxury apartment.

Ten flats in the Rehendi Residency were reserved and handed over to the government in early 2015 under an agreement with the private contractor FW Construction.

In April, anti-corruption NGO Transparency Maldives urged the heads of independent institutions to refrain from accepting “arbitrary gratuities” from the government.

Jihad, former finance minister, was meanwhile appointed vice president on June 22. He became Yameen’s third vice president in less than three years.

The ruling party-dominated parliament approved the appointment on July 20 with 51 votes in favour and 12 against.

The vice president’s secretariat has also reportedly been moved from the president’s office to the nearby Huravee building.

The vice president’s post had been vacant since the impeachment last November of Ahmed Adeeb, who has since been convicted of masterminding the September 28 blast on Yameen’s speedboat.

Adeeb’s predecessor Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed was impeached in July last year. Yameen’s running mate in the 2013 presidential election was accused of incompetence and disloyalty.

On June 3, Jameel became the leader of a new coalition launched in London with the aim of removing Yameen from power before the 2018 presidential election.