COVID Corruption: Investigation of ventilator deal in its last stages

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) on Wednesday revealed that the investigations on the alleged corruption that occurred within the Health Ministry with regards to the purchase of ventilators are in its last stages.

A compliance audit report showed that the ministry had not acted according to regulations in awarding a project to procure 75 ventilators for the Maldives. The report revealed that the company that was tasked with the procurement is not a WHO-recommended supplier, as previously reported by the government.

The report, signed by Auditor General Ahmed Ziyath, said Dubai company, Executors General Trading’s financial and technical capacity was not taken into consideration when awarding the project to the party. While the procurement of 75 ventilators was tasked to the company for MVR 4,502,250, and while the Health Ministry in its documents implied that the company is a WHO recommended company, the organization has confirmed that it did not at any point shared a list of recommended suppliers with the ministry, said the report. The Audit report also noted in detail that neither a performance guarantee nor an advance payment guarantee was provided despite 90 percent of the agreement amount being disbursed to the company.

Speaking to AVAS, ACC’s media official said the joint investigation being carried out in liaison with Maldives Police Service are in its last stages, and that relevant statements are being recorded. After the process is concluded, the case will be forwarded to the Prosecutor General for charging, said the official.

A month has passed since Health Minister Ibrahim Ameen isolated himself from his official duties until investigations into the issue are concluded. The minister continues to deny any wrongdoing, but acknowledged procedural and administrative issues, and insists that he acted in good faith.