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Maldives graft watchdog seeks to indict STELCO ex-chief

Fathmath Shaahunaz
31 July 2017, MVT 14:36
Abdul Shukoor Abdulla, the former managing director of STELCO. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
31 July 2017, MVT 14:36

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is seeking charges against the former managing director of State Electric Company (STELCO), Abdul Shukoor Abdulla, and the former head of finance department, Mohamed Saleem, for spending STELCO funds in advance to purchase US Dollars from a private firm that did not hold a money-changer licence.

In a statement, ACC confirmed that the case has been forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s Office after investigation. According to the commission, STELCO had spent MVR 3,084,000 to buy USD 200,000 from a private company that was not an authorised money-changer.

ACC noted that the managing director holds the responsibility of managing company finances in accordance with government regulations and company policies. The commission further declared that, as firms are not authorised to exchange money without the official license issued by Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), STELCO had authorised the private firm unlawfully.

Mihaaru understands that the private firm in question is Sharu Launch, a company that had received MVR 17 million from Fenaka Corporation to purchase USD 1 million.

ACC further accused Shukoor of being aware that the private firm had given a dated check to STELCO in the transaction. The commission also highlighted that despite the finance head’s claim that the transaction took place to offset STELCO’s difficulties in obtaining US dollars, MMA had provided US Dollars to STELCO with special permission from the President’s Office each time STELCO filed at the finance ministry seeking foreign currency.

Declaring that the private firm had made financial profits from STELCO, ACC has filed at the Prosecutor General’s Office to indict Shukoor and Saleem for abuse of authority and abuse of power for illegitimate private gains. The commission is also seeking a verdict ordering Shukoor and Saleem to repay the MVR 3 million paid out of STELCO funds.

Meanwhile, the Civil Court has ordered Sharu Launch to repay the MVR 3 million to STELCO over the firm’s failure to provide the promised amount of US Dollars to STELCO.

Shukoor, who had served as the head of STELCO for several years, was appointed as the State Minister of Environment and Energy last June. However, the government did not disclose a reason for the transfer.

Shukoor’s vacated position as STELCO’s MD is now filled by the former minister of the President’s Office, Ahmed Zuhoor.

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