PSM’s MD, DMD received allowance they weren’t entitled to for months

Ali Khalid: He was appointed Managing Director of Public Service Media (PSM) on December 25, 2018. (File Photo/Sun)

Public Service Media (PSM)’s Managing Director Ali Khalid and Deputy Managing Director Mohamed Shameem have been accused of taking an allowance they weren’t entitled to.

An official from PSM told Sun that Khalid and Shameem – who are executive directors of PSM’s Board – took a MVR 7,500 allowance which only non-executive directors are entitled to.

Privatization and Corporatization Board’s regulations dictate that executive directors of state-owned enterprises will not receive the board allowance for non-executive directors, but will instead receive a sitting allowance – MVR 500 for each Board meeting they attend.

The maximum number of monthly Board meetings that can be held is set at three, meaning executive directors will receive maximum MVR 1,500 as sitting allowance per month.

The PSM official who spoke to Sun said that Finance Ministry had noticed the irregularity, and sent a circular to the media corporation – instructing for the immediate cease in payment of non-executive board allowance to the MD and DMD, and the recovery of the money paid to them as the non-executive board allowance.

The circular in question was addressed to the Khalid, and it was he himself who instructed PSM’s HR Department and Finance Department to implement the circular.

However, Khalid later emailed the HR Department, inquiring about the reduction in his pay following the implementation of the circular.

“After Finance and HR cut it, he sent an email asking why his pay was MVR 7,500 less. It was less because the Finance instructed as such,” said the official.

PSM’s MD and DMD are entitled to a MVR 7,500 board allowance. However, the payment of the allowance was suspended by Finance Ministry as a cost-cutting measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Khalid and Shameem total MVR 225,000 in board allowance over the course of 15 months in violation of Finance Ministry’s instructions.

The PSM official said that though Finance Ministry instructed the recovery of the money, both Khalid and Shameem said they were unable to pay such a large sum at once, and that an arrangement has been reached where they will be required to pay the sum on a monthly installment basis.

The case comes with PSM employees subject to a cut in their allowances citing financial trouble.

An email sent to PSM employees reads that the corporation was facing difficulties in paying salaries due to the financial situation.

“As a consequence, the technical core allowance and support core allowance employees are entitled to has been temporarily cut from this month’s allowance,” reads the email.

PSM receives an annual budget of over MVR 100 million from the state, and receives millions more through sponsors.