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Ruling party MPs call for Health Minister Ameen's removal

Shahudha Mohamed
17 August 2020, MVT 20:02
Lawmakers pictured during the September 3, 2019 parliament sitting. Many MPs of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) called for the removal of Health Minister Abdulla Ameen after an audit report revealed that the ministry acted in violation of the Public Finance Act regarding the COVID-19 response. PHOTO/MAJILIS
Shahudha Mohamed
17 August 2020, MVT 20:02

Parliamentary representatives from ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have called for the dismissal of Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen, over the ministry's controversial spending of state funds for the COVID-19 response.

According to the compliance audit report released by the Auditor General's (AG) Office on Sunday, the ministry had spent millions in violation of the Public Finance Act, whilst claiming to procure ventilators and other medical supplies.

Moreover, the report stated that there was no way to guarantee that the state had received the items that were supposedly purchased by the ministry.

The parliament representative of Greater Male' region's Vilimale' constituency Ahmed Usham submitted an emergency motion to the parliament calling for an investigation into the issue.

Debating on the issue, parliament representative of Galolhu South constituency Mickail Naseem slammed Minister Ameen, accusing him of providing false information to the Parliament.

Calling the "ventilator theft" the most disgusting act anyone could commit in the midst of a global pandemic, while human lives were at unprecedented risk, Mickail stressed that MDP would not allow such exploitation.

"Theft of trust and the physical theft of the state budget. He has committed both these thefts", Mickail, representing MDP, said.

"I call for the immediate removal of the Health Minister".

Parliament representative for Galolhu North constituency and Vice Speaker Eva Abdulla also demanded an investigation be launched into the matter after removing those responsible for the violations listed in the audit reports of the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Health.

Noting that the documents sent by the ministries to the Parliament and Ministry of Finance were fabricated, in addition to disseminating false information disseminated to the public, Eva called for any individual who may influence the probe to be suspended till the conclusion of trial.

Parliament representative of Addu Atoll's Hulhudhoo constituency Ilyas Labeeb highlighted that accusations of money laundering and corruption were levelled against health ministry and called for the state to work with Dubai, to investigate the shady agreement signed with Executors General Trading LLC to procure 75 ventilators for the COVID-19 response.

Speaking during Monday's session, parliament representative of Maafannu South constituency Ibrahim Rasheed (Bondey) declared that a decision must be made about the coalition government after discussions with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

He stated that MDP will be shamed when ministers of other parties are involved in grafts, and therefore, insisted that the party being represented by whichever minister who commits the crime "should not be given the slot" in the cabinet, as "that party will not take responsibility".

Just a week ago, MP Ibrahim Rasheed submitted an amendment to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s charter, proposing that, if a cabinet member of a coalition government is removed over allegations of corruption and sexual assault or other crimes, whichever party the minister was representing would lose that seat.

The vacated seat will then be up for grabs for MDP only, as the amendment states that a new minister can only be appointed from a registered party with over 50,000 members.

Noting that MDP will always work towards ending theft and corruption, parliament representative of Henveiru Central constituency Ali Azim claimed that 60 percent of the cabinet was attempting to push accusations onto MDP, the largest political party in the coalition government, as well as the country.

Parliament Representative of Henveiru West constituency Hassan Latheef echoed similar sentiments, asserting that MDP members should decide on how to move forward and ensure cases of corruption do not repeat in the future.

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