A Compliance Audit Report of Ministry of Health has revealed that WHO Maldives Country Office had not officially recommended the Ministry to buy ventilators from Dubai-based Executors General Trading Company.
The audit report released earlier this week revealed that WHO Maldives had never recommended the Dubai-based company and did not have any commercial links with them. However, Health Ministry had previously informed Media and state institutions that the company was awarded with the contract to supply 75 ventilators as per the “recommendation” of the World Health Organization’s Country Office in the Maldives.
In this report, Auditor General’s Office highlighted that the financial and technical capacity of Executors General Trading was not vetted before awarding the m with the contract. AG Office noted that the company did not even have a website which could be used for background checks.
The report further revealed that Health Ministry had undertaken several efforts to show that the Dubai-based company was indeed “recommended” by WHO Maldives. This includes a letter to Finance Ministry, and another letter to the Bid Committee of the Health Ministry, sent by the Ministry’s Finance Executive. The letter sent to the Bid Committee had explicitly mentioned that Executors General Trading was selected after direct discussions between Health Minister and WHO Maldives Country Representative.
However, the information given to the Audit Investigation by WHO Maldives had revealed that this was not the case.
WHO Maldives said that during a NEOC meeting held in March, Health Minister had informed WHO Maldives’s Country Representative Dr.Arvind Mathur of difficulties in obtaining the ventilators and had asked for help. WHO said that Dr.Mathur had informed the Minister about a company he was informed through professional contacts, in an unofficial capacity.
Furthermore, the country office stated that no list of approved suppliers was shared to Health Ministry and no instructions were given to acquire ventilators from a particular company.
The Auditor General’s Office had also revealed that Health Ministry did not obtain an advance payment guarantee when it paid Executors Company MVR 30.9 million, which is approximately 90 percent of the total payment as an advance. A Joint Investigation has been launched into this by Anti-Corruption Commission and Maldives Police Service.