minivannews.com on June 18, 2012 released the following:
“By Hawwa Lubna
Interpol has issued a red notice for Mohamed Abdullah, wanted by Maldives Police in connection to the charges of defrauding the health ministry out of Rf 11.8 million (US$761, 290).
The 41 year-old was identified as the Managing Director of F-Tech Solutions, the company which allegedly doctored invoices and delivery notes and forged signatures to collect payment on medical supplies that have not been received by the health ministry to this day.
According to the Interpol website, Abullah is wanted for “Fraud, Counterfeiting/forgery”.
Auditor General Ibrahim Niyaz requested police investigate the fraud charges on April 12, following a special audit into the medical supply procurement agreement signed with F-Tech solutions in 2010.
Under the agreement, F-Tech Solutions was supposed to supply medical consumables and laboratory equipment worth Rf 12.8 million (US$831,169) but the audit revealed that the company had only supplied Rf 930, 512 (US$60,033) worth of goods.
Meanwhile, auditors found that the company forged signatures on delivery notes and invoices claiming goods had been supplied to the health ministry. Even on the instances goods were delivered, the prices listed for goods were much higher than those pledged in the contract.
“This office notes that F- Tech Solutions forged signatures on some delivery notes and invoices. Furthermore, the health ministry, hospitals and health centres have not received any of the goods said to have been delivered on the delivery notes. While the health ministry’s supply department has received goods noted on one invoice, the prices noted on the invoice are extraordinarily higher than prices pledged in the contract document,” the report said.
According to the Auditor General, tender evaluation board awarded the contract to F- Tech Solutions even though the company had no prior experience in supplying medical equipment, had lied about previously supplying medical equipment to the health ministry in bidding documents, and had no import licenses or permits from the Maldives Food and Drug Authority to distribute medical supplies.
The contract was also signed against the advice of Anti Corruption Commission’s (ACC), which at the time had raised concerns over F-Tech’s lack of necessary licenses and permits.
The tender evaluation board awarded the contract to F- Tech Solutions even though the company had no prior experience in supplying medical equipment, had lied about previously supplying medical equipment to the health ministry in bidding documents, and had no import licenses or permits from the Maldives Food and Drug Authority to distribute medical supplies, the report noted.
According to the report, the State Minister of Finance at the time opened a Local Letter of Credit facility (LC) worth the total contract amount for F-Tech Solutions at the State Bank of India (SBI). The Auditor General said the move contravened the Maldives Finance Act which states only 15 percent of total contract value can be paid out in advance.
Further, although the contract was made between F-Tech and the health ministry, the state minister for finance authorised finance ministry staff instead of health ministry staff to sign delivery notes, the report said.
Niyaz said the state minister’s decision to establish a LC facility “opened up the opportunity” for payments to be made for unsupplied goods and “weakened the state’s internal control mechanisms.”
A Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Finance and Treasury authorised payment to F-Tech without confirming receipt of goods with the health ministry, even though SBI had noted discrepancies between the invoices and delivery notes. Nine of the 21 invoices were issued a month before the date printed on delivery notes, the report said.
Moreover, the Health Ministry did not annul the contract with F- Tech Solutions as per the agreement even though the company had failed to supply medical equipment for the period October – December 2011.
Instead, the ministry had procured the consumables itself and told F- Tech the amount would be deducted from the total payment to the company. However, no such deduction took place.
Niyaz recommends filing fraud charges against F- Tech Solutions, and filing negligence charges against the Tender Evaluation Board, and relevant Health Ministry and Finance Ministry officials. The report does not name the accused.
However, according to local media, F–Tech has six directors: MD Mohamed Abdulla, Director of Operations Abdulla Rashid; Director of Administrations Abdulla Shafeeg; Director of Sales and Marketing Ahuyad Hisaan; Director of Logistics Rilwan Shareef and Director of Human Resources Fathimath Shiuna.
Of the six, Shareef and Shiuna are prominent activists of the former ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists.
Police Sub-Inpector Hassan Haneef today confirmed that an Interpol notice was issued for Abdullah after attempts made by local police to find him were unsuccessful.
When asked if any one has been arrested in relation to the case Haneef responded: ”We have questioned some people regarding this case. But no arrests have been made so far.””
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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