Gov't instructed authorities to look into ventilator corruption: President's Office

The President’s Office has stated that the government took the first step in requesting the relevant authorities to investigate the corruption related to procurement of ventilators after the Compliance Audit Report on the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 spending showed discrepancies.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) requested the Prosecutor General’s Office to raise charges against those involved in the corruption. However, the Prosecutor General’s Office decided against raising charges, and the decision was then reviewed upon the request of ACC. The Prosecutor General’s Office did not change their position following the review.

Speaker of the Parliament and former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed were among those who voiced concern over the Prosecutor General’s Office decision, and called for the resignation of Prosecutor General, Hussain Shameem. Nasheed said the members of main0ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) does not wish for the party to work with a government that steals from the country.

A statement released by the President’s Office on Saturday said the government instructed the ACC and Maldives Police Service to urgently investigate the matter when the alleged corruption came to light. The investigation was carried out by the independent commission mandated to investigate such matters under the constitution, and the commission received full cooperation in their investigation, said the President’s Office. It further noted that all government employees and officials suspected of being involved in the corruption were suspended for the duration of the investigation.

Further noting that both Prosecutor General’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office are independent institutions in order to allow perpetrators to be charged without undue influence, it is the responsibility of the President to protect the rights of the people by ensuring that both institutions run according to the constitution, said the statement.