Transport Minister asks President to dismiss Deputy Minister Shimaz

Deputy Transport Minister Shimaz Ali.

Transport Minister Aishath Nahula has asked President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to dismiss Deputy Transport Minister Shimaz Ali based on allegations of corruption.

Nahula sent a letter to the President’s Office (PO) asking for Shimaz’s dismissal last week.

Shimaz was appointed as Deputy Minister of Transport in February 2019.

PO spokesperson Miuvaan Mohamed told Sun that Shimaz has not been dismissed from his post. He declined to confirm whether or not the PO received a letter asking for his dismissal.

Sun is able to confirm the letter from Nahula through a credible source.

In 2021, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigated a case against several senior Transport Ministry’s bid committee members including Shimaz, involving the award of a contract to Versagio to manufacture machine-readable license plates.

ACC had requested charges of misuse of official authority to confer an undue advantage against Shimaz, Hamad Abdul Ghanee, Ali Ikram, Mohamed Nizar Adam, Mariyam Samaahath and Mariyam Thasleema in the case.

However, the case was dropped by the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) due to lack of evidence.

The case in question involves a contract for machine-readable license plates. The invitation to tender for the project was posted by the Transport Authority on December 31, 2019.

Following an investigation, ACC found three companies submitted bids for the project, and the Transport Ministry’s bid committee decided to award the project to Versagio Pvt. Ltd. – which came second during evaluation.

The bid committee made the decision after invalidating the bid submitted by the company which quoted the lowest rates and scored the highest marks during evaluation, citing that the company did not submit their SME registration.

The committee also told ACC that the quality of sample license plates submitted by the other two companies had been poorer, and only Versagio had prepared the plates in accordance with the requirements on Annex 1 of the information sheet.

However, ACC found that the submission of the SME registration certificate and the assessment of the quality and strength of sample license plates wasn’t mentioned in the information sheet.

ACC also found that the sample plates submitted by all three companies meet requirements on the information sheet.

The commission therefore concluded that the bid committee did not take into consideration the documents and the information sheet in making the selection.

Finance Ministry had investigated the case, and ordered the Transport Ministry that the project would be processed by the National Tender Board. The contract with Versagio was terminated in April 2021.

Shimaz was appointed as Deputy Minister on a slot awarded to the government coalition partner Maldives Reform Movement (MRM).

Shimaz was not immediately available for comment.