Ahmed Naseem appointed new health minister amid ventilator scam

The Maldives government, rocked by a ventilator scam, appointed Ahmed Naseem as the country’s new health minister after Abdullah Ameen resigned on Wednesday amid allegation of him favouring a Dubai-based company in the procurement process, reported the Sun news

Oct 23, 2020
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The Maldives government, rocked by a ventilator scam, appointed Ahmed Naseem as the country’s new health minister after Abdullah Ameen resigned on Wednesday amid allegation of him favouring a Dubai-based company in the procurement process, reported the Sun news. 

Naseem, a former diplomat, also served as foreign minister in the earlier administration of president Mohamed Nasheed. Before taking up the charge of the health ministry, he was serving as State Minister of President’s Office. Early in 1970, his role in introducing tourism policy is also considered as a landmark reform undertaken by him. 

A senior figure in the MDP, the largest party in the ruling coalition, took the rein of the health ministry when Abdullah Ameen was forced to resign amid the no-confidence motion signed by 24 members of the ruling MDP against him. 

The controversy erupted when the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on October 13 recommended bringing charges against 11 health ministry officials, including then health minister Abdullah Ameen, who was also part of the bid committee responsible for contracting firms for ventilators procurement. 

ACC accused the bid committee members of favouring a Dubai based company, ignoring the SOPs, and also alleged that the former health minister encouraged the committee to clear 75% of the payment to the company in advance. The former minister’s submission -that the company was recommended by WHO - was also found untrue when cross-checked by the WHO officials.

The rift within MDP over his resignation erupted when the Prosecutor General’s Office said, it would not charge anyone in the dubious transactions related to the ventilator scam. Former health minister, Abdullah Ameen, a member of Jumhorre Party-a part of the ruling coalition, faced stiff resistance from several MPs of  MDP which finally led to his resignation on Wednesday. 

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