A no-confidence motion against Health Minister Abdulla Ameen has been submitted to the Parliament, signed by 24 parliamentarians from MDP.
The move comes after MDP parliamentary group voted against impeaching Ameen earlier this Tuesday evening.
The motion submitted against him states that investigations by both the Auditor General’s Office and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) uncovered corruption from Health Ministry in the award of a contract to procure ventilators from overseas. It states that Ameen should take responsibility, and that the allegations have resulted in a loss of confidence in him.
“Because this has resulted in loss of people’s confidence in Ameen and loss of the Parliament’s confidence in him, and because it has been proven that he provided false information when questioned by the Parliament regarding this, and false information to state institutions,” reads the reason cited for the submission of the motion.
Parliamentarians who signed the motion:
This marks the first time for a no-confidence motion to be submitted against a Cabinet minister during the current administration.
According to Parliament regulations, the submission of a no-confidence motion against a Cabinet minister requires the signature of 10 parliamentarians. It also requires a majority to vote to pass the motion - meaning the vote of 43 parliamentarians.
The Parliament has 87 members, and MDP enjoys a supermajority with 65 members.
The MDP parliamentary group’s emergency meeting to take the no-confidence vote against Ameen was attended by 58 parliamentarians. 27 parliamentarians voted that they lacked confidence in Ameen, which fell just three votes short of the 30 votes required to pass the motion.
Some of the parliamentarians had abstained from the vote, and the exact number of parliamentarians who voted in favor of keeping Ameen in the office of Health Minister remains unclear at this point.
MDP leader, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed has stated that he intends to push for the no-confidence motion against Ameen, even if he has to go against the party whip-line. He made the remark in a heated debate on MDP parliamentary group’s Whatsapp group shortly before the vote.
The allegations against Ameen stems from irregularities highlighted in a compliance audit on COVID-19 related spending by the Health Ministry – primarily a MVR 34.50 million contract to Dubai-based Executors General Trading to procure 75 ventilators – released by the Auditor General’s Office in August.
While Ameen and officials from National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) previously stated that the contract for procurement of 75 ventilators was awarded to Executors General Trading at the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Male’, the audit report states that no official recommendation was ever made.
The audit report shows the Health Ministry paid MVR 30.91 million, which made for 90 percent of the total payment, to Executors General Trading as an advance, without obtaining an advance guarantee or a performance guarantee.
The company has yet to deliver the 75 ventilators.
Ameen denies both the corruption allegations, as well as the allegations that he provided false information to the Parliament.