Local market stalls in the capital are leased to those favoured by ruling party lawmakers, a leaked Viber chat log has shown.
The log, believed to be from the Progressive Party of Maldives parliamentary group, shows a message from MP Ahmed Nihan.
“Today, the housing ministry informed me that stalls will be given as per the requests made by the MPs for individuals in their respective constituencies,” he said.
Nihan, who is also the PPM’s parliamentary group leader, thanked Housing Minister Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and President Abdulla Yameen for making the arrangement.
MP Mohamed Musthafa condemned the ruling party for exploiting the poor, claiming PPM constituents were getting the stalls at cheap rates then renting them out to the poor for much higher sums.
“After paying just MVR 1000 per month for a stall to the government, the poor are forced to rent the stalls from the rich for MVR 7,500 or MVR 10,000 per month,” he tweeted.
Shamau Shareef, Malé’s deputy mayor, appeared on RaajjeTV Tuesday night and alleged there was corruption in the leasing of market stalls.
He accused First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim of orchestrating the distribution of stalls, adding that people were submitting complaints to the city council with proof.
A member of the PPM parliamentary group told VFP anonymously the chat log was authentic.