The Ministry of National Planning handed over to the Hunan Construction Engineering Group of China, the construction of an office building in Phase One of Hulhumalé.
The project agreement for MVR 185 million was signed by the Permanent Secretary of Planning Ministry, Zeeniya Ahmed and the Hunan Construction Engineering Legal Representative, Wang Hi.
The project costing a total of MVR 185,806,545.64 was handed over to the company amidst claims that Chinese companies had been contracted by the former government for large projects for overpriced amounts. The six-story office building is to be completed within one year, as per the agreement.
Hunan Construction Engineering is the same company that constructed a US$ 24 million link road between Hulhulé, Hulhumalé, and Malé.
The work was contracted by Hunan Construction Engineering at a time when a Malaysian firm filed an arbitration against the Maldivian government for violating an arrangement between the two parties to construct a 25-story office building in Hulhumalé.
The building is intended to be constructed on the property that currently houses the building of the Ministry of Finance. The government, however, made the decision to relocate the new building to Hulhumale’s construction. At the time, the Ministry of Finance had confirmed that the project switch was based on technical expert advice.
While under the agreement with the Malaysian firm, 20 percent of the project was completed, the government has not made any payments to the company so far, the company stated. The Maldivian government is expected to have to pay the company more than US$ 40 million in compensation, in addition to the remaining US$ 29 million, if the Maldivian government decides to terminate the agreement with the company.