Maldives Gas corruption: DMD Ikram’s accusation on STO Audit Committee confuted

During the SEO Committee that was held today. | Photo: Majilis.

Malé, Maldives – The accusations Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of Maldives Gas at the time, Ali Ikram put on the audit committee of STO regarding the Maldives Gas receiving refurbished oxygen cylinders instead of new ones which were paid for has been confuted.

When the previous DMD Ali Ikram was presented at the Parliament’s State Owned Enterprises (SOE) and questioned about the received refurbished oxygen cylinders, he had put huge accusations on the Audit Committee of STO. Along with this, Ikram also claimed that the STO Audit Committee, Fuel Supply Maldives and some members of the Maldives Gas had planned and framed this against him.

Regarding this matter, the STO Audit Committee was presented to the SOE Committee today where the Chairman of the STO Audit Committee, Shimaadh Ibrahim stated that the STO Audit Committee is an independent committee and that the STO management has no involvement in their businesses.

Chief Auditor who leaded the Cylinder Audit, Ibrahim Shareef stated that the accusations Ikram put on the STO Audit Committee is accusations without any valid proof and that nobody has any such influence on the committee.

While Ikram has openly put huge accusations on the STO Audit members, the MP of Thulusdhoo of the SEO Committee, Ibrahim Naseem has questioned the STO Audit Committee as to why they haven’t taken any actions and released a statement against Ikram yet.

Shimaadh responded by saying that they have no issues with anyone and that they have no intention of raising more voices regarding this matter by releasing a statement about it.

Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has also begun investigations into the accusations that Maldives Gas was involved in a major corruption scheme regarding the supply of oxygen cylinders to the country.

The accusations against the company are directed at the Deputy Managing Director of the company Ikram Ali and sums up to MVR 16 million as of now, according to the State Owned Enterprises Committee of the Maldivian Parliament.

According to the SOE committee, the accusations of corruption is related to the purchase of 4,128 oxygen cylinders which were procured in 2020 during the spread of Covid-19 in Maldives. The SOE committee had revealed that Ikram had travelled to Singapore with a shareholder of the company which was given the contract and that his trip was paid for by the shareholder of PROBIZ which had won the contract. The committee also revealed that documents of the trip had been collected for further investigation. 

While 6 companies were approached to purchase the 47 liter oxygen cylinders, PROBIZ was given to supply 3,000 cylinders and the balance 1,000 cylinders was to be supplied by another company which had applied. The committee further revealed that the refurbished cylinders sent by PROBIZ cannot be used. 

It was also revealed that the 3,129 oxygen cylinders supplied by PROBIZ were refurbished. While they were contracted to send new cylinders, they had serviced and repainted old ones to Maldives at a price of USD 224 per cylinder. The committee also added that they would verify the quality of the other 1,000 cylinders which were supplied at a rate of USD 253 per cylinder to ensure that those were new. 

Ali Ikram, who was the Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Gas was suspended following sexual harassment case after a female employee had resigned from his position on March 9, 2021.

Following the suspension of Managing Director of Maldive Gas Shazail Shiyam in October 2019 over corruption allegations, Ali Ikram has served as the company’s acting manager.

Shazail was placed under suspension by the President’s Office on October 2019, after receiving several serious complaints that seem to fall under the administration’s ‘Zero Tolerance to Corruption’ policy. This includes the suspicious transfer of money into the account of an employee, allegations of corruption during repair work carried out by Maldive Gas and allegations of corruption during the hiring process of an employee.