The Edition


Audit report has ex-tourism minister in crosshairs

Ahmed Aiham
23 February 2020, MVT 21:01
Singha Estate - Emboodhoo lagoon - Moosa Zameer
Ahmed Aiham
23 February 2020, MVT 21:01

The Auditor General's (AG) Office alleged that former minster of tourism Moosa Zameer was negligent of funds received under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, during the tenure of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

As revealed in the audit report released by the Auditor General's Office, out of MVR 120.7 million budgeted by the Ministry of Tourism for corporate societies and state-shareholding companies under the CSR programme, MVR 25 million was unaccounted for during 2017 and 2018.

Although there is no general CSR policy, the tourism ministry formulates a specialized committee that assesses and assigns various rates to be collected from individual investors or corporations.

Furthermore, the audit report noted that under circumstances where investors request for extensions or face delays in repayment, then the USD 15,000 collected as a processing fee are diverted to CSR projects that benefit the public sector.

AG Office noted that although a procedure for CSR exists, the funds were deposited directly into entities as opposed to a public bank account, raising questions over possible misappropriation of funds.

Moreover, the ministry's records do not clearly indicate the funds allocated for CSR projects.

Details of funds distributed under CSR initiatives

- Sifainge Welfare Private Company Ltd (SIFCO): Reportedly MVR 4.5 million out of a MVR 52.4 million budget was unaccounted for.

These funds were allocated for the renovation of the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, and the Attorney General's Office, the construction of a Special Operations boat for the Maldives National Defence Force, and on various developments of the presidential island Aarah, Kaafu Atoll, including a manor for the president.

- Maldives Integrated Development Corporation Pvt Ltd (MITDC) did not receive MVR 5.2 million of a total budget of MVR 52.4 million allocated for CSR.

While MITDC acquired MVR one million in commissions, the corporation also ran a surplus of MVR 2.4 million from the CSR funds. In total, MITDC spent MVR 27.9 million of the MVR 31.4 million it received.

- State Electric Company (STELCO): Have reportedly spent MVR 5.6 million out of MVR 9.3 million allocated for CSR.

These funds were utilized for the construction of football pitches in Mahibadhoo in Alif Dhaalu Atoll, Naifaru in Lhaviyani Atoll, and Vilufushi in Thaa Atoll. A large portion of this fund was spent on the football pitch in Mahibadhoo, which cost a total of MVR 3.7 million.

- Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC): The company did not receive MVR 13.4 million out of a total CSR allocation of MVR 13.8 million.

The audit report indicated that the MTCC received MVR 600,000 from investors. However, according to tourism ministry records, a total of MVR 200,000 of this money is unaccounted for.

- Public Service Media (PSM) records also show MVR 300,000 out of a total allocation of MVR 6.8 million for CSR projects were not received.

The Ministry was also unable to account for MVR 200,000 recorded in PSM's book.

The report also revealed that the ministry ordered investors to deposit MVR 300,000 into State Trading Organization (STO), however, STO records do not indicate having received these funds.