Fenaka chairman resigns amid corruption scandal

Fenaka chairman resigns amid corruption scandal
October 12 17:59 2016

The chairman of Fenaka Corporation has resigned in the wake of a probe into the theft of US$1million from the state-owned utility company.

Mohamed Nadheem cited mismanagement by Fenaka’s staff and their refusal to consult the board and follow instructions on procurement of fuel by the president’s office, according to his resignation letter obtained by the Maldives Independent.

“[T]here are delays in implementing the board’s decisions, resulting in losses to the company and the public. I have found that board’s decisions are flouted in some matters and some decisions are made without the board’s knowledge,” he wrote.

“For instance, the president’s office on January 1, 2016, ordered the company to follow specific rules on procuring diesel, but these instructions were flouted without the board’s knowledge.

“And in some cases the board and I only find out about issues concerning the company through the media. This is unacceptable given that it is the board that has to take responsibility for the company.”

Nadheem said his efforts at reform had failed because of “major obstacles,” and that mismanagement had hindered the government’s plans to “guarantee electricity for 24 hours” in the islands.

Fenaka provides electricity services for more than 150 out of the Maldives’ 188 inhabited islands.

Nadheem, who is also the son-in-law of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, did not mention the corruption scandal over the foreign exchange transaction. Both the police and the Anti Corruption Commission are investigating the company’s release of MVR17million to a local company to obtain dollars.

Fenaka was to receive the amount in dollars within 30 days, but the three-dollar cheques made out to the company with an invalid Mauritius Commercial Bank guarantee stamp bounced.

The company’s managing director, Mohamed Nimal, was sacked after a local newspaper, Mihaaru, revealed that one of the shareholders of the company involved in the Fenaka scam – which is said to provide speedboat transfer services – had been arrested.

Mihaaru has alleged the involvement of politicians in the scandal, but said a recent law criminalising defamation prevents it from revealing their names. It is not clear when the scam took place.

Nimal was replaced with former lawmaker, Ahmed Shareef Adam.

Shareef told reporters that the board had approved the foreign exchange transaction because it needed foreign currency for its projects.

In a similar scam, more than US$6million was stolen from the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation in 2014 and 2015.

The figure is part of the nearly US$80million stolen from the tourism firm in what has come to be known as the country’s biggest ever corruption scandal.