Police have arrested former Immigration Controller and head of the Disaster Management Centre, Abdulla Shahid, in connection with a corruption case involving MVR 24 million (US$1.55 million).
Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News that Shahid was arrested at 11:00am this morning.
‘’He was arrested in connection with an MVR 24 million fraud case,’’ Haneef said. ‘’Police are conducting a joint investigation with the Anti-Corruption Commission.’’
During his tenure as Immigration Controller under the Nasheed administration, Shahid was a key opponent of the controversial Nexbis border control system, which parliament unanimously voted to terminate in December.
The case involving the Disaster Management Centre concerns an audit report produced by the Auditor General. In the report, the Auditor General alleged that the MVR 24 million was fraudulently obtained from the budget allocated for the Centre for the year 2009 and 2010.
The Auditor General’s special report into the case alleged that the Disaster Management Centre had photocopied, edited and reused ‘Credit Purchase Order Forms’ used in 2005, to withdraw the MVR 24 million from the Centre’s budget at the Finance Ministry.
The ‘Credit Purchase Order Forms’ were originally given to the Disaster Management Centre in 2005 to withdraw cash from the Tsunami Recovery Fund.
The Auditor General’s report also suggested that the Finance Ministry was complicit in the alleged fraud.
In March 2012, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) sent a corruption case to the Prosecutor General’s Office concerning the Disaster Management Centre 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 a police escort in October last year during the investigation process.
The ACC asked the Prosecutor General’s office to prosecute the two deputy heads of the DMC, and a senior official of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.