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ACC reveals suspicions of corruption in Aasandha system

03 March 2019, MVT 12:23
Patients queueing at Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH). PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
03 March 2019, MVT 12:23

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) revealed that foreign hospitals received more money than the billed amount from the national health insurance scheme, ‘Aasandha’, during President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s tenure.

According to a report received by local media Mihaaru, funds were transferred for bills that detailed unavailable medical services and pharmaceuticals from these hospitals.

ACC has since conducted an investigation into the accusations against top officials and other agents from certain hospitals for receiving illicit advantages through Aasandha funds.

Aasandha regulations state that citizens may receive grants to travel abroad for healthcare services that are unavailable in Maldives. Following the investigation, ACC noted that several people were sent abroad for treatments that were available in Maldives.

According to the report, ACC had investigated the bills dated from January through April 2016.

During the period, ACC highlighted that a total of USD 1.4 million was billed by Indian hospitals, yet USD 1,444,086 was paid out through Aasandha. This incurred a loss of USD 43,520 for the state.

The report explained that this was a result of bills that violate Aasandha regulation.

Aasandha regulations state that invoices must be billed in relations to the established exchange rate by the company. Nonetheless, funds were released as per the exchange rates set out by foreign companies.

The ACC report also included additional loss of funds through the scheme. One case shows that India Ganga Hospital received USD 5,212 for a bill invoiced for USD 2,039.

Additionally, treatment in Lanka Hospital required USD 328 yet USD 1,441 was released by the state company.

ACC stated that some hospitals have billed for the doctor’s allowance even though the details were exempted from the bill.

Furthermore, the ACC report highlighted that only laboratory tests were made through the Indian NIMS Hospital. ACC's investigation revealed that these test services were available in Maldives.

ACC's investigation concluded that no staff from National Social Protection Agency (NSPA) or Aasandha had attempted an act of corruption or participate in illicit enrichment. Moreover, the report stated that the employees did not partake in any act to provide undue advantages for other parties through Aasandha.

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