COVID Corruption: PG decides against raising charges; ACC to review case again

The Prosecutor General's Office has decided against raising charges regarding the ventilator scandal.

A compliance audit report showed that the Health 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.

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) on October 14 requested the Prosecutor General to raise charges against 11 officials from the Health Ministry including Health Minister Abdulla Ameen regarding the scandal. The graft watchdog requested the PG to raise charges of misuse of official capacity against the minister.

PG's Public Prosecutor Ahmed Shafeeu Tuesday said the case submitted by the ACC was reviewed by the PG Office and did not find grounds to raise charges. The details of their findings will be shared at a later time, he added. ACC has confirmed that the case has been returned to the commission, citing lack of evidence. The case will be further reviewed and investigated jointly by both AC and Maldives Police Service, said ACC.