Alleged predator Ikram’s sexual harassment case filed citing lack of evidence

Thinadhoo South constituency MP Abdullah Saneef (L) seen with Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Gas Ali Ikram. Both of them had gone to Singapore with a shareholder of PROBIZ | Photo: Ali Ikram

Malé, Maldives – Maldives Police Service has filed the sexual harassment case filed against the former Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Gas, Ali Ikram for sexual harassment to a female staff.

The female employee had lodged the case along with messaging history of Ali Ikram as proof of sexual harassment. While Police has filed the case, Ikram had previously stated that even though he had sent messages to the employee that he had not harassed the woman. The messages had later been leaked to social media as well.

Former DMD of Maldives Gas, Ali Ikram’s case has been filed while the MD of Maldives Gas, Shazail Shiyama’s money laundering case was also filed by Police stating lack of evidence earlier this month.

According to police, the decision to file the case was taken as no evidence was found against Shazail. Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) forwarded the case to Maldives Police Service in December 2020. 

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. 

Speaking to local media outlet Mihaaru, Spokesperson of ACC Hassan Manik had previously stated that although the bribery charges against Shazail could not be proven, money laundering activities flagged during the earlier investigation were conveyed to the police for further inquiry. At present, the commission does not have the jurisdiction to investigate cases involving alleged money laundering.

Parliamentary Committee on State-Owned Enterprises also conducted an investigation of the charges against Shazail. In addition to the concerns pertaining to the managing director, ACC also highlighted and launched investigations into three issues in which corruption is suspected. 

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.

While Ikram escaped from the sexual harassment case, he has an ongoing case of corruption against him. The corruption accusations against him 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. 

Speaking at todays committee meeting, chair of the SOE committee, Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb told that PROBIZ had given a price higher than other companies which had applied and that PROBIZ was not in the oxygen cylinder supply industry as well. He also added that Ikram had instructed to go ahead with the procurement stating that the cylinders needed to be brought to Maldives urgently. 

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. 

Speaking at the committee meeting, one of the MP’s also added that the procurement of the cylinders was done after changing the procurement manager of Maldives Gas after the manager pointed out that PROBIZ was not in the business of oxygen cylinder supply and refused to accept their quotation. 

In addition to this, it was also revealed that a parliament member also traveled to Singapore with PROBIZ on the trip before the procurement was done. While the members name was not revealed at the committee, local media have reported that it was Thinadhoo south constituency MP, Abdulla Saneef who belongs to MDP.