Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has stated once again that a decision on pressing charges in the corruption case stemming from the health ministry’s procurement of ventilators for COVID-19 patients, as well as pressing charges against Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof in connection with the MMPRC scandal, will be made next week.
During today’s news conference conducted by the Prosecutor General’s Office, Shameem responded to a query about a date for filing charges against Mahloof by saying that a decision would be made early next week, maintaining that there is no outside influence on the case.
Furthermore, he stated that a decision on charging those engaged in the suspected wrongdoing in the procurement of ventilators by the health ministry will also be taken early next week.
The issue includes an MVR 34.50 million contract given by the health ministry to Dubai-based Executors General Trading to acquire 75 ventilators in 2020, which the Auditor General’s Office said violated Public Finance Regulation.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which investigated the case, asked the Prosecutor General’s Office, on October 14, 2020, to file criminal charges against 11 government employees, including then-Health Minister Abdulla Ameen.
But the Prosecutor General’s Office declined to file charges against the 11 people involved in the case, citing a lack of evidence.
The ACC stated in a statement in early November that it re-investigated the case in compliance with the Prosecutor General’s Office’s directions and resubmitted it.
The commission stated that it has requested new charges be filed against the 11 officials involved in the case. It also said the officials acted in a way that precludes an advantage to the state in compiling the contract and throughout the procurement process, and requested additional charges under Article 13 of the Anti-Corruption Act.
Furthermore, the ACC stated that it followed the money trail in the probe but discovered no proof that money was given to any of the officials involved.
The ventilator scandal was probed by a joint team from the ACC and the Maldives Police Service.
Mahloof’s Corruption Case
On June 9, the ACC recommended that the PG Office charge Minister Mahloof in connection with the MMPRC corruption scandal. Since then, the PG Office has repeatedly requested additional papers relating to the case from the ACC, demanding that the commission complete all of the case’s necessary components.
The ACC claimed that their investigation revealed that Mahloof, who was then acting as a legislator, received USD 33,000 from then-Vice President Ahmed Adeeb in exchange for voting for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) bill.
The commission is charging Mahloof with bribery and embezzlement under Article 2(A) of the Anti-Corruption Act, as well as presenting false information to an investigating authority under Article 521 of the Penal Code.