Ventilator corruption: Finance Ministry not negligent

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer responds to questions at the Parliament on October 24, 2022. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer on Monday said that the ministry had not acted outside the law in anyway with regard to the ventilator corruption case during Covid-19 pandemic.

The case involves an MVR 34.50 million contract awarded by Health Ministry to Executors General Trading to procure 75 ventilators in 2020. 

During the Parliament session on Monday, in response to a question asked by Vilufushi MP Hassan Afeef, the minister said that investigative authorities in their reposts have not found the ministry to have done anything illegal in their procurements. He added that even the compliance audit report complied by Covid office has no mention of such a thing.

Speaking further, Minsiter Ameer said that no investigative body had informed to take any action against an employee of the ministry. However, he reveled that they  were advised to strengthen procurement procedures. Hence, based on it, steps have now implemented to further improvements. 

Executors General Trading was contracted to procure ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients in critical condition.

However, the company only delivered 15 ventilators, and while Health Ministry paid MVR 30.91 million, which made for 90 percent of the total payment, to the company as an advance, without obtaining an advance guarantee or a performance guarantee.

Maldivian government served notice for termination of the contract for failure to deliver the ventilators in May 2021.

The government has filed an arbitration complaint on February 16th, seeking MVR 32.5 million in total – making up the cost of the ventilators that were not delivered in addition to compensation for the losses incurred due to non-deliverance. The complaint also seeks interest and arbitration expenses from the company.