PG Office declines to file charges in ventilator scandal due to lack of evidence

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem during a press conference on July 14, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The Prosecutor General’s Office has informed that it will not be bringing charges against anyone in relation to the ventilator scandal case. 

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had requested charges against 11 officials of the Health Ministry, including the then Health Minister Abdulla Ameen, over the misconduct, alleged deceit and negligence of the ministry in the procurement of ventilators to strengthen the Maldivian health system at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the nation. 

The PG Office had previously stated that it had declined to charge in the case for violations of the public accounts regulations, due to the fact that there was insufficient evidence to prove the case in court. 

The case was once again reviewed by the ACC, which had criticized the PG decision. After the review, the case was sent back to the PG, which had stated that more information had been received in the case this time. 

Public Prosecutor and PG Office media official Ahmed Shafeeu said that based on the evidence of the previous case and the new information from the review, the legal requirements related to proving the case in court were not fulfilled. The PG office said that it will not be changing its decision against charges in the case. 

Out of the 75 ventilators contracted for supply to the Dubai based Executors General Trading by the Health Ministry, only 15 had been received in almost a one-year period. Ex-Health Minister Ameen is also accused of using the WHO to cover up the alleged scandal by stating that the company was recommended by the organization. An advance payment of USD 30.91 million was paid to the company without as much as a performance guarantee. The advance payment was equivalent to 90 percent of the entire payment. The Health Ministry is also accused on a number of other irregularities and misconduct in relation to the case, which was first made public in an audit of the Auditor General’s Office.