The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has accused former National Disaster Management Center (NDMC) heads Abdulla Shahid and Mohamed Shahid of defrauding the state of MVR 250,000 (US$16,181).
The two men (unrelated) had authorised payment from the state budget for an electricity generator, after it had been donated to Haa Dhaal Kumundhoo Island by MP ‘Colonel’ Mohamed Nasheed via a private company, the ACC said.
In June 2013, police and the ACC accused the former State Minister Abdulla Shahid and former NDMC Director Mohamed Shahid of fraud involving MVR24million (US$1.55 million).
Regulations on public finance management require state bodies to obtain multiple price quotations for any purchase worth more than MVR25,000 (US$1,618). The requirement can only be bypassed in a situation of emergency.
However, Abdulla Shahid had admitted there was no emergency in Kumundhoo case, said the ACC.
According to the commission, the Finance Ministry had allocated MVR250,000 in the 2010 state budget for procurement of a second-hand generator for Kumundoo on the President’s Office’s order.
The Finance Ministry specifically ordered the NDMC to disburse funds as per public finance management regulations, the ACC said.
Instead, the NDMC deposited the funds directly to a shareholder of the company involved in donating the generator for Kumundhoo. There only communications between the NDMC and the company were regarding the payment, the ACC said.
“Investigations prove this transaction violates the Public Finance Act. [The generator] was not procured by the state, but by an MP for his constituency in his personal capacity, and investigations prove the state’s payment for [the generator] is abuse of position to benefit a third party,” the ACC said.
The ACC does not clarify the connection between MP Nasheed and the company.
Mohamed Shahid is the brother of MP and former Speaker of the People’s Majlis Abdulla Shahid.
The commission has recommended the prosecutor general file charges against Abdulla Shahid and Mohamed Shahid for abuse of position and order them to reimburse the MVR250,000 to the state.
The Maldives Police Services in February 2013 arrested Abdulla Shahid and Mohamed Shahid in a corruption case involving MVR24 million after an Auditor General’s special report revealed the NDMC had photocopied, edited and reused ‘Credit Purchase Order Forms’ used in 2005, to withdraw the MVR24 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.
Police have requested the prosecutor general press charges against Abdulla Shahid, Mohamed Shahid and seven other individuals.
The ACC in March 2012 had also accused the NDMC of corruption in a 2006 housing project worth MVR18million.
In 2013, the commission began investigation in 1316 cases of corruption, and completed 620 cases. The ACC forwarded 178 cases for prosecution.
Despite increased reports of corruption, the conviction rate is very low in the Maldives.