PG: Agreement signed with Executors was not AG recommended

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

The Prosecutor General’s Office (PG Office) has stated that the Health Ministry entered into an agreement with Dubai-based Executors General Trading without the legal advice of the Attorney General’s Office (AG Office). 

The Ministry entered into an agreement with Executors to procure ventilators for the Maldives during the early days of the pandemic in 2020. A number of misconduct and violations were later found in the dealings with the foreign company. Just 15 ventilators have so far been received by the Maldives from the 75 ordered under the agreement. The company was paid MVR 30.91 million without a performance guarantee. The ACC had requested the PG to bring charges against 11 in the scandal known as the ventilator scandal. 

In a signed letter to the Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed by the PG Hussain Shameem, the PG informed that the Health Ministry had requested the legal advice of the AG office before signing an agreement with Executors on April 2, 2020. Upon further examination, it was observed that there were differences in the agreement which was actually signed and the agreement for which the legal advice of the AG was provided.

“We couldn’t determine that the ACC had examined both copies in the investigation, so when we examined, we found 18 differences in the signed agreement and the agreement for which the AG gave legal advice,” read the letter by PG Shameem. 

Some of the clauses included in the agreement are clauses that place the state at an unfair advantage without good cause. Some of the clauses in the agreement are also clauses not included in the copy that the AG gave legal advice for. 

The differences had now been shared with the ACC, according to the PG Office in order to complete the investigation and find those responsible. 

The ACC was also requested to find out how the money paid to the company was routed as well. 

The PG Office has decided to review the case after initially declining to bring charges in the case for lack of legal principles. The ACC had denied this and responded that the investigation was sufficient enough to warrant charges.