MVR 28 mln lost in FSM-MPL diesel scandal

A loss of MVR 28.3 million was suffered due to corruption in the sale of oil from Fuel Supplies Maldives (FSM) to Maldives Ports Limited (MPL), it has been found.

The Auditor General's Office published its special audit report on the scandal on Thursday. The audit report was prepared at the request of the State-Owned Enterprises Committee of the Parliament.

According to the report, diesel worth MVR 28.3 million was lost to corruption from FSM's sale of diesel for the purpose of MPL's operations at the Male' Commercial Port between 2018 and 2020.

"This includes MVR 9.6 million worth of diesel recorded for running generators, diesel worth MVR 18.6 million recorded for operating tug boats, and diesel worth MVR 127,616 million recorded for loading RTG cranes," the report noted.

According to the report, 799,900 liters of diesel sent by FSM to the Hulhumale Jetty Area to refuel MPL's tugs were not loaded on the tugs. The report said the diesel was worth MVR 7.25 million.

The FSM delivery notes were signed by an MPL employee who received the oil delivery on behalf of MPL. However, the report said the oil was not loaded onto MPL's tugs, and MPL did not receive the delivery.

MPL purchased 2,793,375 liters of diesel in 2020 to continue its operations in the Male' Commercial Harbour against 1,752,060 liters of diesel purchased in 2021. According to the audit report, the amount purchased in 2020 is 59 percent more than the amount purchased in 2021, despite lesser company operations in 2020.

According to the audit report, copies of request forms for oil sent by units were forged to show that more fuel was being allocated to vehicles and generators than required. It estimates that 726 forms were forged during the three years from 2018 to 2020 to steal 1,401,693 liters of diesel. This amount of diesel is valued at MVR 13,421,002. The report noted that the request forms and the issue notes prepared after the release of oil were incomplete and contradictory.

The audit report further said that the fuel consumption analysis reports were not taken into consideration in determining the fuel budget for MPL operations. The practice of informing the oil delivery location and order quantity via phone paved the opportunity to send the oil bowsers to locations other than the intended location, it noted.

The report noted that an SOP for requesting and issuing oil had not been prepared by MPL. MPL and FSM employees are believed to have been involved in the fraud, it said.

MPL was incorporated on July 31, 2008, as a 100-percent government-owned company.