K. Male' | Zunana Zalif | 12-July-2018 | Thursday 16:02 | zunana | Local | 629
Former Housing Minister Mohamed Aslam has paid back the amount he owes to the state as per the Civil Court order issued to him.
The Civil Court had issued the order after it had learnt that Aslam, as minister had taken funds from the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure’s budget to pay his phone bills.
The court order issued on the 24th of June by Judge Ali Abdulla, states that Aslam had as then Minister, withdrawn a whopping total of MVR 312,928 from the state budget throughout 2009 to 2011.
Speaking to RaajjeMV after having paid the amount in total to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Aslam said that although he does not believe the order to be a valid one, he had paid up the amount in order to follow the orders of the court.
“The reality of the situation is, upon my appointment as minister, the ministry’s permanent secretary told me that the office reimburses ministers phone bills. Following this I told them I would not change my phone number, to which the secretary responded by asking me to change the billing address. Consequently, the bills were being delivered to the ministry’s office. It was happening within the regulations of the ministry” Aslam told RaajjeMV.
The former minister further said that he wished to appeal the case, however, there are obstacles in his way. As such, while a summary statement in the case is needed in order to appeal the case, Aslam’s lawyer was unable to get it within the required duration.
“I do not believe this was an amount I owed to the state by any means. The charges raised against me did not come following a raise in my phone bills, it was ones that came because the state paid for them. Surely these bills will include ones for calls I made in regards to state matters” said Aslam.
Aslam, highlighting that the state currently pays the phone bills for several such ministers in position, said that they do not face similar charges, going on to say that this verdict was not vindicated.
While the court order stated that it is Aslam’s obligation to pay up the amount within five months from the day the verdict finding him guilty is issued, he had paid the sum in total within a day. He was found guilty following documents issued by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury proving that he had taken the amount against regulations.
Before taking matters to court, the Finance Ministry had requested Aslam to pay up the amount but he refused, declaring that he does not owe the state anything but was willing to obey a verdict from the court.
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