Ventilator corruption: Not enough evidence to prosecute

Minister of Health of Maldives Abdullah Ameen who has recused himself following major corruption allegations | Photo: Health Ministry

Male’, Maldives – The Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has decided that none among the 11 individuals who have been requested to be prosecuted by the Anti Corruptions Commission of Maldives (ACC), with regards to the corruption involving the purchase of ventilators for the state, can be prosecuted, highlighting insufficient evidence.

PGO revealed that the decision was made after reviewing the case and that the case was declined on Monday on these grounds. While no details were released to the public with regards to the matter, PGO has scheduled a press conference for later today to address any concerns.

The names of the 11 individuals, including the Minister of Health, Abdullah Ameen himself, were forwarded by ACC to the PGO on the 14th of October, following a thorough investigation into the matter.

Among those who were requested by ACC to be prosecuted under part (a)(2) of section 511, part (a) of section 512, part (b) of section 513 and part (a)(1) of section 313 of the Penal Code of Maldives, are;

  • Minister Abdullah Ameen
  • Director Financial Executive Ahmed Aslam
  • Deputy Minister Nishama Mohamed
  • Deputy Minister Shiyama Mohamed
  • Director Naushad Ali
  • Bid Committee Member Aminath Shaufa
  • Assistant Director Fathimath Limya
  • Legal Officer Ali Shihaam
  • Assistant Director Abdullah Hafeez, and
  • Assistant Administrative officer Hussain Niyazk

Detailing the accusations, it was highlighted that it was Minister Ameen who introduced the owner of Executors General Dr. Ali Al Thakhumathee to the Ministry and that it was the Minister himself who initiated the handing over of the contract to the company.

It further read that it was Minister Ameen who passed on Thakhumathee’s contact to the Financial Executive Ahmed Aslam under the pretext that the company came recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) and that the Minister also introduced the company to the bid committee with the same information. ACC accused that the company was contracted with the task without confirming the due diligence, due to the conduct of the Minister.

ACC also stated that it has been found by the commission’s investigation that Minister Ameen had ordered two members of the bid committee to partake in the meeting which decided on the matter of contracting Executors General, after the required quorum was not met. It was further highlighted that the Minister also urged to hasten the handing over of 90 percent of the total payment (MVR 34 million), which accounts to MVR 30 million to the company as soon as possible.

The investigation further divulged that the Minister was aware of the procurement and payment request processes carried out by the Ministry and that the Minister was personally involved in providing guidance with regards to the matter.

Explaining further findings of the investigation, ACC revealed that the matter was investigated as an urgent case and that the investigative team was assisted by Maldives Police Service as well. It was further noted that a total of 1,600 documents, 500 email backups and 36 testimonials were collected and analyzed for the purpose of this investigation. However, despite this, it has been decided by the PGO that enough evidence has not been presented to prosecute the Minster and his officials.