Two former members of interim Elections Commission face corruption charges

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has forwarded corruption cases against two former members and two senior officials of the Elections Commission (EC) to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) for purchasing over 50 laptops without a public tender or bidding process.

The officials facing corruption charges are former commission members Ahmed ‘Saabe’ Shahid and Mohamed Mahir along with then-Director General Shaukath Ibrahim and Deputy Director Ahmed Naeem.

An ACC investigation into the allegedly fraudulent transactions found that the EC bought 57 NEC Versa S3300 notebook computers on four different occasions from the same company ahead of the 2008 presidential elections.

The 57 laptops were purhcased in the space of 21 days at a total cost of Rf 621,015 (S$40,000).

A press statement issued by the ACC yesterday revealed that the first 20 laptops were purchased after a public announcement on September 16, 2008, but an additional 37 laptops were purchased before October 15 – two weeks before the second round run-off – without an invitation for bids.

The ACC found from examining “goods delivery” notes that the EC received the laptops before the dates specified in the agreements, which were signed by then-Deputy Director Ahmed Naeem.

The ACC noted that the purchases were made in violation of regulations on procurement of items from a single party as well as a stipulation for public tenders and evaluation by a committee for purchases above Rf25,000.

While the EC did not form a committee to evaluate bids and award points for proposals in accordance with the regulations, the ACC also found the company that provided the laptops did not submit information in writing as required by the procurement regulations.

The ACC asked the PGO on November 17 to charge former Deputy Director Ahmed Naeem under the Anti-Corruption Act for abuse of authority for undue financial gain for a third party and to prosecute former members of the interim commission, Mohamed Mahir and Ahmed ‘Saabe’ Shahid, on similar corruption charges for authorising the illegal purchases.

Ahmed Shahid is a senior member of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and husband of Galolhu North MP Eva Abdulla.

Both Mahir and Saabe had authorised the purchases by approving quotations provided by the company. The company was not named in the ACC press statement.

The ACC also requested the PG to prosecute then-Director General Shaukath Ibrahim to recover the cost of five laptops (Rf54,475) that were lost and not entered into the stock inventory. The investigators found that Shaukath as head of operations was responsible for the loss.