Male’, Maldives – The Minister of Health of Maldives, Abdullah Ameen has resigned from office, following multiple accusations of corruption in his official capacity as Minister and an upcoming no-confidence vote against him at the Parliament of Maldives.
Ameen’s resignation was submitted to the President’s Office via a letter, which he addressed to the President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, which revealed that a discussion had taken place between both the President and Ameen.
Ameen’s letter to the President read, “And following the meeting with you, I have been able to realize the true depth of reality. Hence as it is my belief that the best course of action given the circumstances is to resign, I resign as the Minister of Health, effective today.”
Ameen’s resignations was lead to by a series of events, stating from an audit conducted by the Auditor General’s Office, which suggested foul play in all three contracts awarded by the Minister of Health, to procure 142 ventilators for the state. These include the agreements made between Executors General Trading LLC for 75 ventilators, MedTech Maldives Pvt Ltd for 50 ventilators and with Naadu Pvt Ltd to acquire 24 ventilators, out of which the agreement with Executors General which became the most controversial of all.
The audit report highlighted that Executors General, a Dubai based company was not recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), something which Minister Ameen has reiterated throughout the duration of the scandal.
The issue prompted President Solih to order an investigation by the Anti Corruptions Commission of Maldives (ACC) as well as by Maldives Police Service, which worked together, to collect and analyze 1,600 documents, 500 email backups and 36 testimonials throughout the investigation, only to have the case to prosecute Ameen and 10 other officials of the Health Ministry, declined by the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), on grounds that sufficient evidence has not been provided to pursue criminal charges.
Following these events, a Parliamentary Group meeting was held by ruling party of Maldives, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). which also holds the supermajority within the government, for a vote whether a no-confidence motion should be filed against Ameen. However, the vote was decided in favor of Ameen, where 31 out of the 58 members in attendance voted in alliance with Ameen while some voted to clarify the stance of the President on the matter.
Despite this, a motion was filed to the parliament by 24 members of the Parliament, calling for a no confidence vote against the Minister. President of MDP, Speaker of Parliament, Former President Mohamed Nasheed also announced his stance on the matter saying that he would go on with the vote to remove Minister Ameen from his position even if it’s against the party’s whip
During the entire fiasco, a motion has also been filed against the members of ACC, for them to be removed from office, citing incompetence. As of recent, ACC has been heavily criticized by the members of MDP over multiple occasions. Members of Parliament such as Deputy Speaker MP Eva Abdulla, MP Moosa Siraj and MP Imthiyas Fahmy had swung critical blows towards the Commission over their work speed during parliament sittings as well. Other members had also pointed out that the Commission was not doing sufficient work to investigate corruption cases and Galolhu-South MP Mikail Naseem had stated that the investigations of the Commission were of poor quality.
With Ameen’s resignation, the administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has witnessed the loss of three Ministers over the course of just one year, with the first being the resignation of former Minister of Housing and Urban Development Athifa Shakoor, on June 11, 2020 due to health conditions, resulting in the Ministry being dissolved and transferred under the now Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure, lead by Minister Mohamed Aslam.
This was followed by the dismissal of former Minister of Tourism of Maldives Ali Waheed, on 9th July 2020, who was accused of sexual misconduct against employees of the Ministry, as well as of corruption and gross misconduct.
While this is so, it is not the first time Ameen has resigned from office as Minister. In 2015, Ameen, who was then serving as a Minister of the President’s Office, resigned from office, of the reason the then Spokesperson of the President’s Office Ibrahim Muaz Ali claimed to have been without any particular reason highlighted.
Even at the time, Ameen was facing corruption charges after ACC forwarded a case against the Minister to the PGO, accusing Ameen of writing off a fine to a company over delays in the Thimarafushi regional airport project, which the company had failed to complete within the agreed upon period.
As history repeats itself, it has not yet been announced who will be replacing Ameen as the new Minister of Health of Maldives.