Male’, Maldives – Following the conclusion of the investigation by the Anti Corruption Commission of Maldives (ACC), it has been filed with the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), to have charged raised against the Minister of Health Abdullah Ameen and members of the Ministry’s bid committee.
ACC sent the request to the Prosecutor General yesterday and the Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said that they had not decided on what to do on the case yet.
“ACC has sent a case to this office requesting to prosecute Minister Ameen, but this office has not decided on what to do about it yet. Once we do finalize what to do, we will inform,” PG Shameem said.
The case first came up when the Health Ministry’s Covid-19 compliance audit was published by the Auditor General which stated that the agreement between the ministry and Dubai company Executors General Trading LLC to procure 75 ventilators had discrepancies and that the ministry had spent more than MVR 30.9 million against the Public Finance Act. As per the audit report, Health Minister Ameen, ministry’s Financial Executive Ahmed Aslam and the bid committee’s negligence was stated in the case.
The health ministry had signed agreements with Executors General Trading LLC for 75 ventilators, MedTech Maldives Pvt Ltd for 50 ventilators and with Naadu Pvt Ltd to acquire 24 ventilators.
The audit report highlighted that the ministry had attempted to show that Executors General Trading LLC was a recommendation from WHO country office in Maldives through false documents and paid 90 percent of the total cost of the ventilators against the Public Finance Act as the Health Ministry did not obtain a performance guarantee, or an advance payment guarantee when they paid the advance.
With regards to the case, Deputy Minister of Health and Chairperson of the bid committee, Nishama Mohamed, Director Ahmed Aslam, other members of the bid committee and several other members of the management were initially investigated with regards to the matter, in addition to Minister Ameen.
In light of the findings of the audit report, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had requested ACC and Maldives Police Service to carry out a joint investigation.
Further, Minister Ameen, members of the Ministry’s bid committee, as well as Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer was also summoned to the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament for questioning. However, Minister Ameen maintained that no acts of corruption had taken place.
Minister Ameen had recused himself from the duties as minister on 17th August, however his remuneration is still being paid by the government as his employment is not terminated by the government yet. So far only 10 of the ventilators had been received from Executors General Trading LLC and no date has been given for the delivery of the remaining ventilators.