It has been confirmed that Minister of Health, Abdullah Ameen submitted his letter of resignation late last night. The move to step down came amidst severe allegations against him regarding the unlawful procurement of COVID-19 ventilators for the Maldives.
The minister’s resignation was announced shortly after the submission of a no-confidence motion against him in the Parliament, a move by the ruling Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) to remove him from his position. A total of 24 members signed the motion.
In a tweet by the Parliament representative of Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll’s Madaveli constituency Hussain Firushan, the motion was submitted under Article (a) of Section 101 in the constitution, further stating that Ameen was no longer fit to serve in his ministerial position.
The backlash against Ameen is primarily in relation to a controversial ventilator procurement contract with Dubai-based Executors General Trading LLC. A compliance audit released by the Auditor General’s Office in August, revealed that the health ministry had spent MVR 34.5 million in violation of the Public Finance Act.
According to the audit, the ministry’s orders were placed under the guise of WHO recommendations for the country’s COVID-19 response efforts.
On October 14, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) requested the PG Office to formally press charges against minister Ameen, among a number of others deemed to have engaged in tacit corruption.
Apart from the recommendation claims, the report compiled by the ACC pointed out that the advance payment to Executors was made using fake documentation concerning the receipts of 65 mechanical ventilators and 10 portable ventilators, in spite of the fact these goods never made it to the Maldives.
Following discussions with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Ameen wrote that his resignation was the best move to maintain public order. The minister has also consistently denied all claims of illicit activity, stating that he and his staff had operated with due diligence regarding the ventilator procurement.