Malé, Maldives – Presidents Office has said that government will not influence any institutions and that it’ll allow independent institutions to run autonomously without any pressure from the goverment.
The press statement released by the Presidents Office earlier this evening stated that government had given full assistance to Anti Corruption Commission on the ventilator case which is responsible by law to investigate any allegations of corruption. Presidents Office added that the government had given all the necessary information and also suspended all parties related to the corruption allegations against Health Ministry staff over the 75 ventilators.
Presidents Office had also stated that the president will ensure that the Prosecutor General and Attorney General also gets the full autonomy to try any cases by the government without any political or personal pressure.
Statement from the Presidents Office reassuring that the government will not hinder the autonomy of the independent institutions comes while Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed had stated that no-confidence votes against Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem and President of Anti Corruption Commission, Mariyam Shiuna follwoing Prosecutor Generals decision to not prosecute anyone related to the ventilator corruption case.
According to ACC, the PG office had decided to uphold their earlier decision to not go ahead with the prosecution, stating that there was no new reason for changing PGs earlier stance on the case. They added that their review of the case submitted by ACC revealed no new elements that provide the basis for prosecuting those involved.
The entire ventilator scandal came to light following an audit by the Auditor General’s Office, which suggested foul play in all three contracts awarded by the Ministry of Health, to procure 142 ventilators for the state during the year 2020. 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.
Following a joint investigation by the ACC and Maldives Police Service, it was revealed that former Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen and 11 employees of the ministry were involved with the expenditure of over MVR 30 million in violation of the Public Finance Act.
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 at the time refused to charge any of the individuals involved citing insufficient evidence.
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.
While the then Health Minister Abdullah Ameen resigned from office after the matter hit headlines, some ventilators have since arrived. However, the new Health Minister Ahmed Naseem has said that there is no hope for any of the remaining ventilators to be received by the Maldives.