MMPRC MD Fathimath Thaufeeq Terminated Amid Serious Allegations

The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) is facing yet another crisis with the termination of its Managing Director, Fathimath Thaufeeq. Ms Thaufeeq, who was appointed to the post on 17th December last year, was dismissed amid escalating governance issues and allegations of financial mismanagement within the organisation.

A Fresh Scandal Unfolds

The termination of Ms Thaufeeq follows closely on the heels of the resignation of Chairperson Ayesha Nurain Janah. Ms Nurain resigned from her position citing significant governance failures and ethical concerns. In her resignation letter to the Privatisation and Corporatisation Board (PCB), Ms Nurain outlined a series of troubling issues within MMPRC, shedding light on the dysfunctional state of the organisation’s management.

Key Issues Highlighted in Ms Nurain’s Report

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Ms Nurain’s resignation letter and accompanying report detail multiple governance failures and unethical practices within MMPRC. These include:

1. Financial Mismanagement:

  • Instances where the CFO and finance team were unaware of spending decisions.
  • Significant overspending due to last-minute procurement requests and single-source procurement exceptions.
  • A ~MVR 30 million gap in government receipts compared to the approved budget, with numerous outstanding payables.

2. Lack of Communication and Transparency:

  • Management’s failure to inform the Board of key activities, legal agreements, and strategic partnerships.
  • Cybersecurity breaches and a lack of transparency in addressing these issues.

3. Poor Strategic Planning and Decision-Making:

  • Low management performance and productivity, with minimal progress on Board requests.
  • Absence of strategic planning leading to a lack of direction in organisational objectives.
  • Last-minute international marketing activities causing chaos with suppliers and stakeholders.

4. Professional Conduct and Staff Morale:

  • Multiple resignations of long-serving staff without explanation.
  • Mismanagement of a sexual harassment investigation impacting staff morale and safety.

5. Increased Workload on Non-Executive Board Members:

  • Non-executive board members spending significant time addressing management performance gaps, diverting focus from strategic oversight.

Allegations Against Management

The resignations and the accompanying allegations primarily targeted MMPRC’s Managing Director, Fathimath Thaufeeq. Ms Nurain’s report highlighted numerous issues under Thaufeeq’s leadership. These included incurring expenses without the CFO’s knowledge, single-source procurement without competitive bidding, and expenditure against budget approvals. Additionally, there were concerns over the lack of consideration in travel expenses and the tendency to accrue expensive costs at the end of events. Perhaps most critically, Ms Nurain noted that the Managing Director frequently acted contrary to the Board’s recommendations, undermining the organisation’s strategic goals and operational integrity.

A Pattern of Resignation

Ms Nurain’s resignation is not the only high-profile departure this week. Rafil Mohamed, a representative of the tourism owners’ association MATI, resigned from the company’s board citing reasons similar to Ms Nurain’s. Both resignations point to a fundamental breakdown in the company’s governance structure and management practices, further casting doubt on the leadership’s ability to steer MMPRC in the right direction.

Detailed Recommendations from Ms Nurain

In her detailed report, Ms Nurain put forward several recommendations aimed at rectifying the current state of MMPRC. These include:

Enhanced Financial Oversight: Implementing stricter financial controls and ensuring that all spending decisions are made with full transparency and in consultation with the CFO and finance team.

Improved Communication: Establishing clear channels of communication between management and the Board to ensure that all significant activities, legal agreements, and strategic partnerships are disclosed in a timely manner.

Strategic Planning and Decision-Making: Developing a comprehensive strategic plan with clear objectives and measurable outcomes. Management should align its actions with the Board’s recommendations to ensure cohesive progress towards organisational goals.

Professional Conduct: Addressing the cultural and ethical issues within MMPRC by enforcing a strict code of conduct. This includes properly handling investigations, maintaining staff morale, and ensuring a safe and respectful working environment.

Balanced Workload: Distributing responsibilities more evenly among board members to prevent burnout and allow for more effective strategic oversight.

The termination of Fathimath Thaufeeq, coupled with the resignation and critical report from Ms Nurain, highlights the urgent need for comprehensive reforms within MMPRC. The detailed recommendations provided by Ms Nurain offer a roadmap for addressing the deep-rooted issues and restoring integrity to the organisation. As MMPRC moves forward, the implementation of these recommendations will be crucial in rebuilding trust and ensuring the corporation can effectively fulfil its mandate as the national tourism promotion board.

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