Male’, Maldives —The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) of the Maldives has stated that they are currently completing the elements requested by the PG Office regarding the ventilator corruption case in Maldives.
75 ventilators brought in by the Maldivian Health Ministry for their Covid-19 response plan have been surrounded with much controversy. Following a joint investigation by the Anti Corruption Commission (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.
While ACC had sent the ventilator corruption case to the PG Office twice for prosecution, it was sent back by the PGO asking ACC to further complete other required tasks in order to prosecute the case.
A media official of ACC, Hassan Manik informed that the ACC is currently proceeding with tasks as instructed by the PGO regarding the ventilator corruption case.
Sources inform that the PGO has now instructed ACC to research on the agreement signed between the Health Ministry and the Executor General and on how the cash flowed.
Prosecutor General, Hussain Shameem had earlier stated that if the accusations under former Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen and 11 employees of the ministry is proved, then they will all be prosecuted. However, according to PG, the completed investigation of ACC so far only shows the misunderstandings or problems raised due to this and that there is no proof stating that any of those 12 members had received any profit from the ventilator corruption case.
While Dubai’s Executors General Trading LLC was contracted to supply 75 ventilators when the Covid-19 virus started spreading in the Maldives, only 15 ventilators had been supplied by them till date. From the 15 they had sent, 5 had missing parts which has not been accepted by the government.
Health Minister of Maldives, Ahmed Naseem had told on March 6, 2021 that the Ministry was still not sure of an exact date for when the ventilators will arrive and that from the actions of the Dubai company, it does not seem like they would be sending the remaining 60 ventilators to Maldives.
On March 31, 2021 Spokesperson of President’s Office Mabrook Azeez said that the government has decided to go to international arbitration to recover the money spent to purchase ventilators that Maldives has not received. Ministry of Health had paid MVR 30.91 million to Dubai’s Executors General Trading LLC for the purchase of 75 ventilators last year.
The previous Health Minister, Abdullah Ameen resigned from office 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.
This included of the agreement 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.
While Minister Ameen later resigned due to the scandal, Deputy Minister Nishaama Mohamed, and senior officials of the Ministry were implicated in the scandal. After the audit report, the ACC conducted an investigation into the scandal and requested charges against the 11 implicated. However, the PG had rejected the case from being sent to court twice stating that charges could not be brought forward in the case due to insufficient evidence.