UPDATE: Names of Health Ministry officials to be charged revealed

Health Minister Abdullah Ameen | Photo: NEOC

Male’, Maldives – The names of the Health Ministry officials who are to be charged over the corruption within the ministry with regards to 75 ventilators contracted to be procured for the state, which was brought to light following an audit by the Auditor General’s Office has been revealed.

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.

However, the names of those to be charged have been revealed, starting with the Minister of Health Abdullah Ameen himself, followed by the Deputy Minister of Health, Nishama Mohamed, who is also the Chairperson of the bid committee. Among others who are to be charged are, Directors Naushaad Ali and Ahmed Aslam along with Deputy Minister Shiyama Mohamed as well as Legal Officer Ali Shiham and Assistant Director Abdullah Hafeez. The names include Assistant Administrative Officer Hussain Niyaz and Deputy Director General Abdullah Shareef as well as two additional members of the bid committee.

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.

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.