The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has sent a corruption case to the Prosecutor General’s Office concerning the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) and a housing project carried out on Gan in Laamu Atoll, following damage suffered in the 2004 tsunami.
The ACC entered the Disaster Management Centre with police escort in October last year during the investigation process. The case involves Rf 18.7 million (US$1.2 million) for 240 housing units.
The ACC asked the Prosecutor General’s office to prosecute the two deputy heads of DMC, and a senior official of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
The three parties facing corruption charges are Deputy Minister Ahmed Zaki, and Deputy Minister Adam Saeed – both deputy heads of DMC – and Deputy Director General of Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ali Arif.
The commission said the investigation had determined that the invoice sent to the DMC from the party contracted to carry out the project was proven invalid.
The ACC stated that the amount in the invoice that was billed to DMC was prepared in 2007 and sent as a retention claim, but the commission had found during the investigation that such a claim could not be submitted.
“Since the retention claim was found invalid, the investigation finds that the claim had been processed in a manner that gave way for corruption,” the ACC stated.
The ACC stated that it has found that Deputy Ministers Saeed and Zaki had approved the payment voucher of Rf 18.7 million for the invoice, and that Zaki was “practically” involved in the process of ensuring that the money was delivered.
The accused Deputy Director General Arif was responsible for allocating the money which had not been budgeted, and had given budget control approval to ensure the money was delivered to the parties.
The ACC is charging the parties with embezzlement of state funds and would claim for the loss of Rf 18.7 million from the DMC.
The party that were contracted to carry out the project was identified as Movey Construction Company. The company was given the project during the government of Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom in 2006, which was completed in 2007.
In 2009, DMC delayed payments due to a financial shortage, and in January 2011, Movey Construction filed a complaint for their financial losses.
Zaki, speaking to Minivan News after the ACC had accompanied police and forensic experts to DMC during the investigation of the case, said that he had been puzzled by the delay and that all the paperwork had been completed.
Zaki also said at the time that he did not believe there was any reason to suspect corruption in the dealings between DMC and Movey Construction Company.
“This is just an accusation because payments were delayed. But the payments were made this May with sufficient documents from all parties. The financial system in the Maldives is very transparent, there are a lot of layers, checks and balances, so I am confident that there is no issue of corruption here,” he said.