Islamic Ministry has refused to provide a comment after their records showed a huge spike in spending from the Zakat Fund on medical treatment for low-income individuals in 2019 – the year the last parliamentary elections was held.
The records were sought by Central Maafannu MP Ibrahim Rasheed (Bonde).
In a written response to his query on March 29, Islamic Minister Dr. Ahmed Zahir Ali said that funds are taken from the portion reserved for orphans and the poor for spending on medical treatment for low-income individuals.
According to Zahir, total MVR 36 million was spent on medical treatment between 2019 and 2021. MVR 22.6 million was spent in 2019, while a significantly lower MVR 6 million was spent in 2020 and MVR 7 million in 2021.
The spending in 2019 was triple the usual spending.
Islamic Ministry’s spokesperson has been unresponsive to repeated phone calls and messages seeking a comment regarding the case since March 29. Zahir, too, has been unresponsive to phone calls.
Sun was therefore unable to get a comment from the Islamic Ministry regarding the case.
Bonde alleges the unusually high spending in 2019 is due to election-linked corruption.
However, in his written response to Bonde, Zahir said financial aid for medical treatment is granted under standard procedure.
He said that proceeds in the Zakat Fund are also used for renovation of mosques and education.