Ventilator scandal: Heated verbal exchanges at the parliament committee

Meeting at the Committee on Independent Institutions | Photo: Parliament

Male’, Maldives – The Parliamentary meeting of the Committee on Independent Commissions, on Wednesday, questioned the Prosecutor General of Maldives (PGO), and members of the Anti Corruptions Commission of Maldives (ACC), regarding the latests corruption scandal of the government, involving 11 members of the Health Ministry.

Although the matter scheduled to be discussed during the committee’s meeting on Wednesday was the delay in the conclusion of investigations regarding the MMPRC scandal, the presence of both PG and ACC members resulted in many questions being aimed at both parties regarding the most corruption involving officials of the Health Ministry, including the former Minister of Health Abdullah Ameen, who has resigned effective this Wednesday.

The matter is controversial topic further drew in controversy after the PGO decline the case, citing insufficient evidence after it was forwarded by ACC following a “thorough” investigation. During the meeting Members asked whether the case did not, in fact have sufficient evidence, or whether the case was declined despite having have been provided with enough evidence.

To this President of ACC Mariyam Shiuna responded saying that the case investigation was not carried out simply, and that hard work and time was put into the work, including the collection of 1,600 documents and 500 emails in order to gather enough evidence for the prosecution, hinting that the excuse of PGO stating that enough evidence was not provided is not believed by her.

“I do not believe at all that our investigation was rushed and done carelessly.” She said. “Even today, our stand is that there is enough evidence for prosecution. However, since the work done by PGO is different from the work we do, there may be differences in opinion. This does not mean we can work together and communicate with each other to take the case forward.”

Shiuna further revealed that while three duty prosecution meetings were held, she had partaken in two of them, during which several points were notes as to be revised, which had been amended as well.

However, PG Shameem’s view on the matter was different, saying that the duty prosecution had been initiated but not completed at the time of submitting the case to the PGO, due to which insufficient evidence was received to continue prosecution.

Differences of opinion in the matter of duty prosecution itself was also evident in the meeting as PG stated that following through the duty prosecution is common practice, while ACC maintained that the process caused delays with the case.

The meeting also witnessed two institutions of the state harboring major differences in opinion of the article 10.03 of the Financial Guideline of the country, where PG insisted what the Finance Ministry had given an approve to override the article, where as ACC insisted that the approval by Finance Ministry was for specific purposes and not a free pass to bypass the entire Financial Regulation.

Despite the differences, the meeting concluded with both ACC and PG inviting each other to a meeting to resolve the differences in opinion with regards to the matter.