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Government waives late rent fines in Hulhumalé

The move comes three days before the presidential election.



The Housing Development Corporation has waived fines imposed over late payment of rent for flats in Hulhumalé.

The HDC, a state-owned company with municipal control over the capital’s suburb, made the announcement Thursday afternoon, three days before the presidential election.

The decision was made “on the government’s advice in order to pave the way for a prosperous life for the public.”

The total amount written off and how many people owed the fines are unclear.

The Maldives Independent has seen text messages sent by HDC informing Hulhumalé residents that the fines were waived on President Abdulla Yameen’s orders.

Last month, the fisheries ministry waived fines for fishing vessels, and the economic development ministry abolished the annual fee for vessels smaller than nine metres and waived accrued fines.

In July, the government was accused of trying to unfairly influence votes by waiving traffic fines and promising to free convicts. Traffic fines worth more than MVR7.8 million (MVR,506,255) have been written off and the prisons authority began releasing inmates to house arrest last month.

This week, the president commuted the sentences of people convicted in absentia before August 2013. The Maldives Correctional Services declined to disclose the identities of the released convicts to the media.

Rules under the Clemency Act were changed so presidential pardons could be granted to prisoners who have not served half of their prison terms for drug offences.

In August, the rules were changed again by the president’s office to make inmates who have pending criminal charges eligible for a pardon if more than a year has elapsed since the charges were raised.