56 days and the investigation still continues – Paid ‘vacation’ for Minister Ameen?

  • Minister Ameen recused himself from the duties as minister on 17th August, 2020
  • Gets a monthly salary of MVR 66,000
  • Corruption allegations over 75 ventilator purchase deal with Executors General, Dubai
Health Minister of Maldives Abdullah Ameen | Photo: President's Office

Male’, Maldives – The government of Maldives has revealed that despite Minister Abdullah Ameen having have recused himself from the responsibilities as Health Minister, he will be receiving his full salary as long has he is not removed from office.

Minister Ameen recused himself from the duties as minister on 17th August, 2020 following the findings of an audit carried out by the Auditor General’s Office of Maldives, which revealed the Ministry’s controversial spending of state funds for the COVID-19 response. The report showed that the Ministry had awarded a contract to a Dubai based company, Executors General, to procure 75 ventilators for the state under the pretext that it was upon the recommendation of WHO. However, WHO, complying with the Audit Office denied this, clarifying that only a contact information was passed.

In response to this, President Solih had lodged the violations noted in the audit report, with Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), of which a joint investigation is now underway.

Speaking with “The Times of Addu”, Spokesperson of the President’s Office, Ibrahim Hoodh said that, “The investigation is currently ongoing and details will be revealed by investigating agencies at an appropriate time.”

Hoodh also said that is unable to comment on whether the Minister would be reinstated even after the investigations are concluded. However, he pointed out that Ameen would continue to receive his salary as long as his employment is not terminated, indicating that the government sees no harm in spending thousands in tax payer money for a Minister who remains relieved from his duties.

Looking into a break down of Minister Ameen’s salary, his basic wage is set at MVR 42,500, along with a living allowance of MVR 15,000 and phone allowance of MVR 1,000. On top of this, the Minister’s salary also includes a car allowance of MVR 7,500.

While the investigation into the matter is still underway, Minister Ameen gets to enjoy, what seems like a 56 day strong, salaried vacation funded by tax payer money. Meanwhile, the total amount of ventilators contracted to be sourced have still not arrived into the to the country.