Male’, Maldives – The decision regarding the case of Former Minister Ameen lying to the parliament regarding the state’s procurement of ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic has been scheduled to be finalised tomorrow.
The matter came to light after an audit report by the Auditor General’s Office, into the Health Ministry’s spending revealed that the Ministry had awarded a contract to source 75 ventilators to Dubai based Executors General Trading under the pretext that it was recommended by the WHO. Minister Ameen had stated so in press conferences and even in a letter to the parliament replying to a question from MP of Mahchangoalhi South Constituency Ahmed Haitham which was also disproved by the Audit Report.
Ameen was summoned to the disciplinary disciplinary committee of parliament for the investigations regarding the procurement of ventilators. Ameen held onto his statements that the purchase of ventilators were under recommendations from WHO during the investigations as well.
As the Health Minister, my conversations with the Country Representative of WHO are entirely professional and those are not my personal views. Whether it is by phone calm or text or message and even if a formal letter has not been sent, that does not provide sufficient evidence that discussions with WHO were not madeFormer Health Minister Ameen
After investigating the documents and Minister Ameen’s statements, the committee agreed upon on 25th November that he purposely lied to and mislead the parliament. The verdict regarding the case has been scheduled to be announced tomorrow afternoon and it is expected that the decision of the committee will be finalised.
According to the parliament laws, if a person deliberately misleads the parliament or gibes false statements, the person is to be fined with an amount no less than MVR 3000, and no more than MVR 10,000, with the alternative being jail time for a period of 3 years.
The issue was also investigated by ACC after an audit by the Auditor General’s Office suggested foul play in all three contracts awarded by the Ministery 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.
Due to this, ACC had forwarded 11 names, including that of Minister Ameen, to the Prosecutor General’s Office to be charged with corruption 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. However, PGO revealed that due to insufficient evidence they have taken the decision to not prosecute any of the 11 individuals, therefore, PG sent back the report regarding ventilator corruption back to ACC.
While Ameen has since resigned and has been replaced by the new Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem (Kerafa Naseem), more on Ameen’s fate will be known during the Parliamentary sitting on Sunday.