Sealife requests ACC to clarify prolonged bribery complaint of ex-HDC MD

President of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Mariyam Shiuna during a meeting of the Independent Institutions Committee with Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on July 20, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Sealife Global Inc Pvt Ltd has requested to clarify the reasons for the prolonged investigation of a bribery complaint against a former Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Managing Director.

The company lodged the complaint with the Anti-Corruption Commission. The complaint stems from a proposal for a bribe of USD 1 million by senior HDC senior officials after awarding the company with the construction of 3,000 housing units in Hulhumale’ in 2015. Sealife stated that the project was canceled when it refused to pay the bribes. 

A letter signed by the Managing Director of Sealife Global Ahmed Moosa to the ACC sent yesterday read that the company had completed the procedure for the project such as ensuring a performance guarantee and submitting concept drawings for the project.

The letter read that the concept drawings took eight months to be approved due to the refusal by the company to pay the bribes proposed by senior HDC officials. The letter read that the detailed drawings of the project submitted by the company in accordance with the procedure after the agreement was not commented on by the HDC which intentionally stopped work on the project. 

The project was canceled after five months of submitting the detailed drawings by the HDC against the agreement clauses for termination, read the letter by Sealife.

Moosa said that the company was forced to purchase shares of USD 950,000 by two majority shareholders of the company who wanted to leave the company after the project was scrapped. 

The company was inflicted with unrecoverable damage since the two shareholders were the main investors behind the project.

The letter by Moosa claimed that the Managing Director of HDC outlandishly proposed to recommence the project if the company paid USD 1 million in bribes. 

This was done through an intermediary who verified the funds after visiting Sri Lanka. Sealife was sent an email revoking the termination and re-awarding the project again after the funds were verified. 

The meeting was conducted by a police officer on leave in Sri Lanka and was provided the details of the operations which was run as a controlled operation by Sealife, read the letter.

After the necessary evidence s were obtained from the operation, Sealife refused to pay the intermediary and instead lodged the case with Police and the ACC. 

“The complaint was lodged with the video footage of controlled operation by Sealife Global, letters sent to the phone of the intermediary by the Managing Director of HDC, photos of the statements in the letter to re-award the project, photos, and identity of the intermediary, identities of the participants in the operation by Sealife, after also noting that they were prepared to provide witness statements.” Said Moosa. 

Due to investigation by the ACC, Police had informed the company that the case was filed in 2015. The company had not been informed of any progress on the case by the ACC since collecting statements by the company. 

The company had also confirmed that the Managing Director of the HDC had attempted to delete information on a laptop confiscated by the ACC for the investigation and even attempted to delete the information from the servers of the ACC. 

Due to the refusal to pay the bribes, the project was completely halted and the senior officials of the HDC disrupted the project on purpose which eventually led to Sealife being forced to compensate clients who had made payments for the flats. This had also inflicted unrecoverable damage on the public, read the letter.

The letter also questioned whether the ACC did not have sufficient evidence and whether it required evidence pertaining to the admittance of guilt by the former HDC Managing Director, despite the submission of numerous evidence by the company.