Health Minister Ameen resigns from post

Health Minister Abdulla Ameen resigned from the post in the early hours of Wednesday amid a dismissal motion.

Ameen sent a letter informing President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of his decision to resign, and referred to discussions between himself and the president in the letter. Ameen said he believes the best course of action under the current circumstance would be to resign as minister.

Ameen also referred to ‘pressure’ to remove him from his post, and said he does not believe the attempts are aimed to achieve a personal vendetta against him. He added that several attempts to weaken the government are in play.

Noting in his letter that the Maldives is a very turbulent country in terms of politics, Ameen said the age-old competition in the political arena obstructs the country from achieving true development. Noting that the administration of President Solih is linked to the well-being of future generations, several attempts are being made to obstruct the current administration from being successful by discrediting the government on false grounds, said Ameen.

Ameen further acknowledged the work being done by the government in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and praised the work undertaken to improve the healthcare system of the Maldives.

The Health Minister’s resignation comes at a time when a no-confidence motion is being pursued against him at the parliament. The motion seeking to dismiss the minister was signed by 24 members of main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) despite the party’s National Council deciding that the party had confidence in the minister, and after the Prosecutor General’s Office decided against raising charges on the minister in connection to a corruption scandal involving the alleged fraudulent procurement of ventilators.

Explaining the PGO’s decision against raising charges, Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem Tuesday said although significant administrative issues were involved in the procurement of the ventilators, there are no grounds to prove that the minister, and other officials accused of misconduct had acted wrongfully. The PGO decided against raising charges as the report and other documentation submitted by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) lacked sufficient evidence to seek prosectution, said Shameem.

Ameen is the third cabinet minister to resign from President Solih’s government. The first cabinet minister to resign was former Gender Minister Shidatha Shareef, who resigned from the post after MDP threatened to dismiss her through the parliament if she did not resign voluntarily. Shidhatha was appointed to the parliament on a slot of religiously conservative Adaalath Party.

Then-Housing Minister, Athifa Shakoor, who was appointed to the cabinet on an MRM slot also resigned from the post citing health issues. However, it is believed that the main-ruling party was behind the push for the minister to resign. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih later dissolved the ministry while MRM was preparing to nominate a new minister for the post.