State Minister Dr. Shah says he wasn't involved in award of contract to Dubai-based company

State Minister for Health Dr. Shah Abdulla Mahir. (Sun Photo)

State Minister for Health, Dr. Shah Abdulla Mahir said on Monday that he was not involved in the decision by the Health Ministry to award a MVR 34 million contract to Dubai-based Executors General Trading LLC to supply ventilators.

Shah, along with other members of the Health Ministry’s bid committee, and several other senior officials from the Health Ministry have placed under suspension pending the outcome of an investigation into the corruption in COVID-19 related spending, including the ventilator supply contract, which was uncovered in a compliance audit report released by the Auditor General’s Office on Sunday.

Health Ministry had contracted the import of ventilators – part of efforts to improve the capacity of Maldives’ health system to treat coronavirus patients who require intensive care - to three private companies; Medtech Maldives, Naadu Private Limited, and Dubai-based Executors General Trading.

The compliance audit report states there is reason to believe the procurement of ventilators from overseas involves fraud.

In a statement on Monday, Shah said that he was not involved in the decision to award the contract to Executors General Trading.

“I was not involved to any extent, or in any stage of the decision of Health Ministry’s bid committee to award the [contract for the supply of] ventilators to the Dubai-based company, either as a member of the bid committee, or in any other role,” he said.

Shah said that minutes of the committee meetings and all documents pertaining to the contract will prove his lack of involvement in the process.

He said that he had posed questions regarding the award of the contract the moment he became aware of the decision, and had raised his concerns regarding the contract with senior officials, including Health Minister Abdulla Ameen himself, who stepped aside from his duties pending the outcome of the investigation earlier this Monday.

Shah said that while he had not been involved in decisions regarding the contract to Executors General Trading, he had been involved in bid committee’s decisions on awarding contracts to Medtech and Naadu, and that his counsel on the contracts had been based on submitted documents, and in accordance with proper standards and policies.

“I am deeply saddened by the decision of the President to ask me stay home until the investigation in connection to the ventilators is complete, at a time when I can offer my services as State Minister of Health as a medical doctor to the fullest, and as I work hard to provide my services, with the Maldivian health system faces such major challenged amidst the COVID-19 situation,” he said.

Shah provided assurance he will provide his full cooperation for the investigation.