Nearly MVR2 million (US$129,700) was spent from the budget of a state-owned company to build the office of the former ruling party, according to allegations that emerged Wednesday.
A board member and employee of the Maldives Integrated Tourism Development Corporation were suspended in January after the anti-corruption watchdog launched a probe, the company’s new managing director Mohamed Raid confirmed to the media.
The case was flagged in the 2017 audit report of the MITDC released in early January.
An expenditure of MVR1.998 million was first recorded in the 2016 financial statement under property, plant and equipment. But in the following year, it was reclassified as a corporate social responsibility expense as an adjustment.
“Due to lack of sufficient appropriate evidence to substantiate this expenditure, we were unable to examine the cause for and nature of this CSR expenditure and the benefit – perceived or otherwise – that the company was expected to gain out of this expenditure,” the audit report stated.
Former president Abdulla Yameen formed the Maldives Integrated Tourism Development Corporation in August 2016 to develop “guesthouse islands.” The company had also been planning to develop picnic islands near the capital.
The Progressive Party of Maldives built its new office in the Henveiru Hurafa building in Malé after the courts handed former president Yameen control of the party in October 2016. Following an acrimonious leadership with his half-brother and former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Yameen’s supporters had cleared out the old PPM office with the help of police officers.
Earlier this month, it was alleged that MVR2.5 million (US$162,127) had been diverted from the state-owned Maldives Gas company to finance a mosque that was built as a welfare project of former first lady Fathmath Ibrahim.
Other state-owned enterprises were also alleged to have diverted funds for Yameen’s re-election campaign last year.
On Tuesday, the new managing director of Fenaka Corporation told a parliamentary oversight committee that the state utility had hired 170 new employees in the three months before the September 23 presidential election.
He also alleged that 82 staff were previously sacked for political reasons.