Anti-Corruption Commission ACC has requested the Prosecutor General’s Office to formally charge 11 government officials in relation to the irregularities in the compliance audit report on COVID-19 response expenditures of the Health Ministry by the Auditor General’s Office.

The compliance audit report highlighted significant irregularities in the procurement of ventilators. It revealed a total of MVR 30.9 million had been in advance to Executor General Trading (Dubai) for procurement of 75 ventilators and that to date no ventilator has been delivered to the country.

In the report, the Audit Office said that it found that the party has been selected to procure ventilators without assessing its financial and technical capabilities.

ACC said the ventilator corruption case ranks as one of the biggest corruption cases it had investigated.

It said in the joint investigation with Police, the investigating team had analyzed over 16,00 documents and 500 emails from different government institutions.

Officials to be formally charged include Health Minister Abdullah Ameen along with Deputy Health Minister Nishama Mohamed, Director at Health Ministry Naushad Ali as well as members of the Health Ministry Bid Committee Aminath Shaufa, and Assistant Director Fathimath Limya. They are set to be charged under Articles 512 and 513 of the Penal Code.

ACC also requested the PG office to charge Director at Health Ministry Ahmed Aslam, Deputy Minister Shiyam Muqadham, Legal Officer at the Ministry Ali Shiham, Assistant Director Abdullah Hafeez, Assistant Administrative Officer Hussain Niyaz and Deputy Director-General Abdullah Shareef.

This comes after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih requested the ACC and the police to fully investigate the discrepancies highlighted in the COVID-19 compliance report for Health Ministry.

Health Minister Ameen had since stepped aside from his duties as Health Minister and Minister of Housing Mohamed Aslam has been overseeing the work of the Health Ministry in his stead.