Compensation payment to SeaLife tenants exceeds MVR 23 million

Model of the SeaLife Complex. (File Photo/SeaLife Global)

Housing Development Corporation (HDC) estimates the cost of compensation to SeaLife housing complex tenants to exceed MVR 23 million.

SeaLife announced its 3,000-apartment housing project, the SeaLife Complex in Hulhumale’ in 2015.

280 tenants paid booking fees of MVR 50,000 (some more than MVR 50,000). The cumulative total of the booking fees collected by SeaLife is estimated to be upwards of MVR 14 million.

However, the SeaLife Complex was never built and the tenants never reimbursed for their booking fees. It led to the biggest class action lawsuit in Maldivian history, which was settled out of court in July.

HDC’s managing director, Suhail Ahmed reported to Sun this Wednesday that the class action lawsuit was filed by 203 tenants, and that the corporation estimated the total compensation payment to the tenants to exceed MVR 23 million.

“Those who went to court have been identified. The compensation to them amounts to approximately MVR 23 million. We haven’t identified the rest of the tenants who purchased the apartments yet,” said Suhail.

HDC, on Tuesday, asked the rest of the tenants to come forward by September 26.

Suhail said the corporation will be able to calculate the exact total compensation payment after the deadline.

When asked whether HDC had the finances to make such a large compensation payment, Suhail responded that the compensation payment was something which the corporation had agreed to, and that it would deliver its commitment.

“We haven’t finalized a timeline [for the compensation payment] yet. But we are working hard on it,” said Suhail.

The 203 SeaLife tenants had sued SeaLife Global, HDC, and Ministry of Economic Development.

Mounting outrage over the housing fraud case spurred HDC to assumed responsibility for compensating the tenants. It also agreed to prioritize the tenants when awarding housing under government housing schemes.

Suhail stressed that the settlement agreement was between HDC and the tenants, and not SeaLife Global. He said the corporation hasn’t made any agreement with SeaLife Global to re-start the housing project, or grant another plot of land for the project.