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Almost MVR1 mn spent illegally by gender ministry

The audit flagged eight points, including unlawful spending.

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The Ministry of Gender and Family spent almost MVR1 million (US$64,703) illegally in 2017, an audit report revealed.

The financial audit for the ministry flagged eight points, including the failure to submit a report on expenditure and income as mandated by finance laws.

The ministry also handed over projects without agreements and spent more than MVR85,000 on the salary of a suspended employee.

“An assistant social worker at the Fuvahmulak atoll children service centre was on suspension from 9 March 2017 to 1 February 2018 and was not tasked with any work, but was provided with the salary for this period,” the report read.

A ministry official contacted the Maldives Independent to deny the member of staff was suspended. The employee was removed from case work, the official said, and had administrative duties.

The audit report says the employee was not tasked with any work and – a literal translation of the phrase – was “isolated from responsibilities.”

More than MVR700,000 was spent without an agreement, the retention fee was not deducted from some projects and items were purchased at higher prices without a public announcement, the audit found.

The ministry also incurred losses because contracted projects did not finish by the deadline and failed to recover more than MVR21,000, while projects that extended past the deadline were also paid the full amount.

The report, signed by Auditor General Hassan Ziyath, advised the ministry to recover the funds and follow the finance laws and rules.

This story has been updated.

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