PG Shameem: Willing to resign over ventilator corruption case

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

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said on Saturday that he is willing to resign over the ventilator corruption case after Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed accused him of failure following the decision of the Prosecutor General’s Office not to pursue charges in the case.

In an interview to RaajjeTV, Shameem described Nasheed as a hardworking public official who has always put public interest first.

“He messaged me. And I acknowledge that,” said Shameem, stating that Nasheed also sent the message Nasheed sent to a MDP WhatsApp group demanding Shameem resignation to him, personally.

Shameem said he does not wish to make any further comment regarding the matter, and that he holds Nasheed in high regard.

“I will act in the matter of my resignation in accordance with official procedure,” he said.

The case stems from a MVR 34.50 million contract awarded by Health Ministry to Dubai-based Executors General Trading to procure 75 ventilators last year, which the Auditor General’s Office found to be in breach of Public Finance Regulation.

Maldives received only 15 out of the 75 ventilators, and 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 Prosecutor General's Office declined charges in the case citing insufficient evidence to prove the charges in courrt.

PG Shameem said on Saturday that his office will prosecute if investigators find where the money went to and present the information.

“We will prosecute if they find where the money went to, to whom the money went to,” said Shameem.

Shameem said his office cannot press charges against anyone unless there is sufficient evidence, and stressed that having sufficient evidence to press charges and having sufficient to prove the charges are two different matters.