ACC instructs LGA for action against Vilingili council members

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). (File Photo/Sun)

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has instructed Local Government Authority (LGA) for action against members of the G. A. Vilingili Council who approved a 10-year lease extension on a property to Zaldhan Oil Supplies in violation of the commission’s instructions.

ACC, in a statement this Wednesday, announced it has also filed case against Zaldhan Oil Supplies with the police over illegal oil business transactions.

A case against Zaldhan Oil Supplies was filed with the ACC with multiple allegations against both the company and the Vilingili council.

Zaldhan Oil Supplies was accused of engaging in oil business transactions illegally at a residential area and failure to pay the lease for the property out of which it operates its business.

It was alleged that several members of the Vilingili council had family and political ties to the company, that some of the council members accepted bribes from the company in exchange for concessions regarding the property, and that the council members were conspiring to grant an extension to the lease of the property without any public announcement, and at their own personal interest.

The property was originally leased to Zaldhan Oil Supplies for 18 years on May 8, 2002. The lease period expired on May 7, 2017, and the Vilingili council, on May 24, 2017, passed a decision to repossess the property.

The decision of the council was contested by Zaldhan Oil Supplies at the Vilingili Magistrate Court. The case was later withdrawn by the company, and the court officially closed the case on October 30, 2017.

The ACC, during its investigation into the case, found that Zaldhan Oil Supplies had been using the property in violation of Maldivian laws and regulations, and that the company does not possess an oil business operation permit issued by the Defense Ministry which is necessary under the regulation on use, handling and warehousing of fuel products.

The commission found that the property out of which Zaldhan Oil Supplies had been operating cannot be leased or used for the operation of an oil business as per the same regulation.

It also found Zaldhan Oil Supplies had not been making lease payments to the Vilingili council.

The ACC noted in its statement this Wednesday that it repeatedly instructed the Vilingili council to repossess the property, and secure the lease payments it is owed by Zaldhan Oil Supplies. But that the Vilingili council, in violation of its instructions, granted a 10-year extension on the lease.

Violation of ACC’s instructions is an offense, and the case was treated as a serious issue by the commission.

ACC say it repeatedly warned the council it would take legal action against the council members who defied the commission’s instructions.

The commission says it has instructed the LGA for action against the council members, and has filed a criminal case against Zaldhan Oil Supplies with the police.