The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has ordered the recovery of over MVR 20 million from 75 cases relating to state-owned utilities company, Fenaka Corporation. This comes against a backdrop of controversies surrounding the company’s skyrocketing debts and staffing levels.

The ACC, which recently issued a statement, did not specify how much money has been recovered thus far. The ongoing investigations focus on cases relating to company officials abusing their power for illegal gains, allegations of hiring employees in violation of relevant regulations, violations of procurement rules, and allegations of inappropriate disbursement of funds.

The ACC has also identified 92 issues requiring rectification by Fenaka, spanning operational and policy-related matters as well as the recovery of funds lost due to corrupt practices.

These developments intensify the troubles for Fenaka, already mired in financial difficulties with debts surpassing MVR 2 billion. Abdul Raheem Abdulla, Director General of Transition, previously expressed concerns about the firm’s exponential increase in staff and questioned the political motivations behind its functioning. He highlighted that Fenaka’s staff had burgeoned from 2,700 employees in 2018 to over 8,000.

This scandal has also caught the attention of parliament, with opposition lawmakers calling for comprehensive management and financial audits. They cited existing Anti-Corruption Commission cases worth MVR 72 million against the company and accused Fenaka of causing small businesses to go bankrupt by not honouring payments.

The ACC has brought its report on the extent of corruption within Fenaka to the attention of the President’s Office and the State-Owned Enterprises Committee of the parliament. The report outlines measures to be taken to curtail corruption and highlights challenges to its investigation.

Abdulla Waheed, Fenaka’s Chief Finance Officer until his dismissal last month, was also found guilty of theft, corruption, and abuse of office, raising questions about the internal governance of the company.

As Fenaka recently took a MVR 400 million loan from the Maldives Islamic Bank to repay its debts, the impact of the ACC’s orders and the eventual financial recovery remains to be seen. The findings are likely to have serious repercussions, not just for Fenaka but potentially for other state-owned enterprises as well, many of which have been reported to be in precarious financial positions.