MWSC Managing Director dismissed

Malé Water and Sewerage Company’s (MWSC) board has dismissed Managing Director Ahmed Umar from his post, reports local media.

Speaking to Haveeru, Chairman of the Privatisation Board Mohamed Nizaar said that the board decided to terminate Umar and said an individual to replace Umar has been suggested to the government.

Haveeru reported that Umar was appointed to the post of the Public Company by President Abdulla Yameen on a Jumhooree Party slot in the coalition government.

MWSC and its management were severely criticised for lack of response after the capital’s 130,000 residents were left without running water for nine days following a fire at the MWSC desalination plant in December.

After a government request for assistance, India, China, and Bangladesh airlifted bottled water, while both India and China sent in ships equipped with desalination plants to produce water for the capital.

Normal operations resumed at the Malé water plant on December 13.


Former Thilafushi Corporation head given 3 years for corruption

Former Thilafushi Corporation Managing Director (MD) Ibrahim Riyaz was sentenced to jail for 3 years by the Criminal Court today after being found guilty of using his influence to gain unlawful advantages in the Thilafushi land reclamation project.

The Criminal Court sentence read that Riyaz had denied corruption charges, claiming that the decision to award the project to Heavy Load Maldives was made by the company board of directors.

Heavy Load is owned by the family of Maldives Democratic Party MP and Deputy Speaker of the Majlis ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.

The troubled reclamation deal – awarded in 2010 as part of the Thilafalhu Industrial Zone project – faced repeated delays due to both technical and financial reasons.

The Criminal Court today countered Riyaz’s defense  saying that he was not able to prove that the decision was made by the board of directors, and accused the former MD of making the decision himself in order to gain personally.

The decision to award the contract to Heavy Load Maldives was made against the rules and regulations of the company as well, read the sentence.

The mega-construction company was paid a mobilisation fee of MVR 38.6 million (US$ 2.52 million) by the Thilafushi Corporation in the project with the whole project reported to be worth US$ 21 million.

Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC) officials ordered the project halted in February 2011, citing the potential for corruption with the deal – though Moosa himself at the time alleged the decision to have been politically motivated.

The Thilafushi Corporation later sued the ACC for the decision to stop the work.

The state-owned corporation reportedly told a Majlis subcommittee last year that it had lost MVR650 million (US$42 million) as a result of the failure of Heavy Load to reclaim the required 152 hectares within the 6 month period agreed.

Criminal Court also charged two other executives of Thilafushi Corporation for participating in the corruption but were unable to prove their involvement.


Addu airport development awarded to UK-based company

UK-based Lagan Construction has been chosen to develop Addu International Airport, State Trading Organisation (STO) has announced.

Managing Director of STO Shahid Ali told local media that along with Lagan Construction, Danish company MT Hojgaard had also submitted a bid for the project.

“The tender for the development of Gan Airport was opened in December. It took is one month to evaluate the bids. Two parties had submitted proposals.

“They were Lagan Construction and Højgaard. Out of them, Lagan had submitted the most responsive bid in the bid evaluation process. So Lagan has been shortlisted,” Shahid was quoted as saying in local media.

Shahid stated that discussions were underway with Lagan to implement the project.


Managing Director of Male’ International Airport Limited appointed

Bandhu Ibrahim Saleem has been appointed as the Managing Director of Male’ International Airport Limited (MIAL), local media has reported.

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik told local media that foreign experts are to be employed as the Chief Operations Officer and Chief Finance Officer at MIAL – established by the government to manage Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

The President told local media that both short and media term development plans for the airport have been noted, and an advisory committee has been formed in order to move forward with them.

Waheed claimed that flight delays have been reduced “by a record level” and that the dollar shortage issue was currently being solved through income from the airport.


Departing doctors leave IGMH unable to provide outpatient services to children

An acute lack of pediatric specialists in Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has forced the hospital to temporarily close outpatient services for children, who make up 40 percent of the hospital’s patients.

Zubair Mohamed, Managing Director of Male’ Health Services Corporation – formerly the Chief Executive Officer of IGMH – said that there were only four pediatricians left after many left claiming to have family and personal problems, while others departed on vacation.

Zubair said that low wages and poor allowances were leading doctors to resign and return to their own countries.

”Most of the good doctors we have are from India,” Zubair said.

”They get almost the same salary as if they worked in India, so it’s not worth it for them to work here.”

A recent salary increase for doctors in India has made it even harder for the Maldives to attract and retain qualified medical staff.

Zubair said that the remaining four pediatricians were now working 24 hours on-call in the emergency and IPD units.

”Forty percent of the patients who come to the hospital are children,” Zubair said. ”They are a large group of patients.”

He said that patients hospitalised were now being given more priority than the patients who visited for diagnosis or treatment.

A pediatrician and a second doctor – a talented psychiatric specialist – left the hospital last week on vacation and have not returned.

”They usually leave saying that they have family and personal issues,” Zubair said. ”Only a few directly say that they cannot work for the low salary.”

As a consequence there would be no outpatient pediatric services available this week, he said.

”Hopefully we will get new pediatricians for the hospital very soon and restart services,” Zubair said. ”We need at least six doctors.”

Future of IGMH

When IGMH begins running as a corporation the salaries of doctors will rise and allowances will increase, Zubair promised.

”Right now all the doctors classed are civil servants, ” he explained, ”so we have to follow the regulations of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and cannot provide them the allowances and salary as we would prefer.”

He said the new corporation had held a meeting with the CSC and discussed the matter, and estimated that it would take three months to start IGMH as a health services corporation.

Spokesperson for the CSC Fahmy Hassan said that the Male’ Health Corporation had held a meeting with the commission but ”it was not to discuss the doctor salaries.”

Fahmy said the commission in January asked the Finance Ministry how much they would be able to pay for the doctors salary and said that the commission was not legally authorised to pay any salary the commission wanted.

”We are now paying them the highest possible salary the Finance Ministry has agreed to give,” he said. ”We cannot pay a salary Finance Ministry disagrees with.”

Press secretary for the president Mohamed Zuhair said that the government had nothing to do with the CSC’s code of salary.

”The government will try to solve the problem somehow,” he said.

He said that the salaries of the doctors will increase when IGMH starts running under Male’ Health Corporation, “which was the main reason why we established it,” he said.Permanent Secretary for the Finance Ministry Ismail Shafeeq did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.