PPM accused of bribery over x-ray machine

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has been accused of bribery for delivering an x-ray machine to the island of Muli in Meemu Atoll two weeks ahead of a parliamentary by-election.

PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan said the government had delivered an x-ray machine to Muli, in the Dhiggaru constituency, and urged islanders to vote for PPM candidate Faris Maumoon.

“The government fulfills its pledges, vote for our candidate Faris Maumoon,” he said in a tweet yesterday.

The tweet triggered accusations of bribery, with one Twitter user describing the move as “cannibalism.”

Others questioned if the state had also paid for a radiologist at the island hospital.

One highlighted the distribution of air conditioners in Raa Atoll Alifushi before an island council by-election in April, and said the donation of x-ray machines to Muli were similar.

“Islanders only needs x-ray machine when the Malé man needs a vote,” another said, referring to the lingering discrimination between islanders and residents of Malé.

“The x-ray machine will only gather dust. A technical will only be set for the next election. That is OK, one at a time,” June Rasheed said.

However, speaking to Minivan News today, Nihan said funds for the x-ray machines was allocated in the 2015 budget, and described the move as “a service to the people.”

“This is a government which makes promises and fulfills them. That is why the people should vote for Faris Maumoon in the upcoming election,” said Nihan.

The government has also signed an agreement with state-owned Maldives Transport and Construction Company to build to harbors in the Dhiggaru constituency.

“All of these projects were included in the budget, after the former MP asked for the development projects for his constituency,” he said.

The by-election, scheduled for June 6, was triggered by the conviction of former PPM MP Ahmed Nazim on corruption charges. The Supreme Court had stripped Nazim of his seat after sentencing him to 25 years in prison on April 6 for defrauding the state of MVR1.4 million (US$91,400).

Former President Maumoon Abdull Gayyoom’s son Faris secured the ruling party ticket after winning a primary with 67 percent of the vote against Meemu atoll council president.

Another PPM atoll councillor, Moosa Naseer Ahmed, is also contesting the by-election as an independent candidate. The third candidate is the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s Ahmed Raazee.

The ruling part was previously also accused of vote-buying after a high-profile handout of air-conditioners to a school in Raa Atoll Alifushi, shortly before a council by-election.


Hithadhoo patients complaining of missing gynaecologist, physician and X-ray machine

Seenu Hithadhoo regional hospital is missing its gynaecologist, physician and x-ray machine, leading to many complaints from patients.

The hospital’s head, Ahmed Mohamed, said the hospital’s only gynaecologist had not shown up for work for a week, while the X-ray machine was damaged and the only physician had departed after completing his contract.

”We have informed the health ministry and they said they will fix all the problems as soon as possible.”

He said there were a lot of patients waiting for the gynaecologist and a lot of complaints from patients due to the broken X-ray machine and missing physician.

He said the nurses and senior medical officers at the hospital were taking care of the women waiting for gynecologist.

”There is a private hospital in this island where they can take X-rays,” he said, ”and people who need to X-ray have to use the machine in that hospital.”

He said that more than 15,000 people lived on the island and more than 150 patients came to Hithadhoo Regional Hospital every day.

Deputy director general of ministry of health Abdul Samad Abdul Rahman said the ministry had received information about all the issues.

”The gynaecologist has told us that she will come out for work tomorrow,” Rahman said, ”and we have been trying with the ADK hospital to fix the X-ray machine.”

He said the ministry was trying to hire a physician and a doctor from abroad, both of whom have been scheduled to arrive next month.