The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has released findings of an investigation into the finances of the Maldives Entertainment Company Ltd (MECL), highlighting discrepancies and irregularities in the company’s financial records.
According to a press statement by the ACC on Thursday, the investigation of the 100 percent state-owned corporation was prompted by numerous complaints regarding its expenses, inventory and high salaries of board members.
“Even though records of expenditure were kept, the figures in the records and the actual amount withdrawn from the [corporation’s] bank account differs,” the ACC findings noted.
“While company records show that Rf676,262.95 (US$43,800) was spent, the bank account showed that Rf807,703.95 (US$52,300) was withdrawn for expenses. Therefore, Rf134,470 was withdrawn from the bank without any record [of how the money was spent].”
Discrepancies in income statements meanwhile revealed that Rf524,121 (US$33,900) worth of income was not entered into QuickBooks (accounting software) records.
Moreover, as a result of the corporation’s spending exceeding its revenue, MECL currently has outstanding debts amounting to Rf122,178.98 (US$7,900), owed to various parties for purchases and services.
“As a result of incomplete documentation and failure to properly maintain records of the company’s expenses and revenue, the legitimacy of the details of expenditure and revenue cannot be guaranteed,” the ACC findings noted.
Moreover, there was no record of the income generated or expenses incurred for a Boney M concert last year.
In addition, a list of assets transferred to the corporation upon its formation were not registered in its inventory.
The ACC findings noted that board members were paid salaries “disproportionate to the income [the corporation] generates through its limited resources.”
“While Rf1 million (US$64,850) was provided by the Finance Ministry in four installments as MECL’s capital and Rf250,000 was received for each installment, instead of spending the money for the company’s other expenses, the bulk of it was spent on salaries for board members,” the ACC found.
However the ACC discovered that among the board members only the Managing Director of the board was being paid a monthly salary at present, “[but] the company’s staff are being paid monthly salaries with no records of attendance.”
The ACC has informed the Finance Ministry as well as the corporation’s board to take remedial measures in connection with the findings.
The press statement however added that the ACC was continuing its inquiries as it had “noted matters that have to be further investigated.”