Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer has defended the government’s stance on settling cases out of court for massive amounts.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Tuesday presented a white paper to the sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee over the lack of transparency on out of court settlements.
Speaking in the meeting, Minister Ameer said that this administration had to resort to out of court settlements because of the actions of the previous government. In the Committee meeting, Kaashidhoo Constituency MP Abdullah Jabir over the case-by-case treatment under this process. Responding to the question, Minister Ameer said that foreign consultant advising on the project had advised to settle out of court, as the court could potentially award over US$ 200 million.
Minister Ameer further said that seeking justice was an electoral pledge and to fulfill this, President Solih had set up a Settlement Committee to oversee this process. Several cases were submitted to the Committee, he added.
Minister Ameer said the Committee had deliberated on the cases intensely. Minister Ameer accused Committee members of prioritizing their own interests, even though the Committee was formed to seek damages for members of Maldivian Democratic Party and the then-opposition, sustained during the previous administration.
“We started with pure intentions, but at the end of it, we’re the ones being defamed as thieves,” he said.
By the end of October 2019, this administration had handed over around a billion Maldivian Rufiyaa as damages. Since then, more had been handed over as damages.
This includes MVR 280 million to the company that carried out border control project, MVR 130 million to coalition partner Qasim Ibrahim’s Villa Group, MVR 848 million to Noomadi, and MVR 30 million to Business Imaging Group (BIG), a company affiliated with Economic Development Minister Fayyaz Ismail.
Minister Fayyaz had confessed that the funds paid to BIG was used in the Chairperson elections of MDP.