Male’, Maldives – The former Tourism Minister of Maldives, Ali Waheed who was charged with multiple sexual offenses has fled from Maldives as soon as the court’s order to contain his passport expired.
Sources inform that Waheed flew to London yesterday via a Turkish Airline as soon as his passport was released by the court. In the hearing that was held yesterday at the Criminal Court, Waheed’s defence presented his doctor to the court to inform that several disks in his backbone are damaged.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ordered Waheed’s resignation on 8 July 2020, following complaints regarding incidents of misconduct within the tourism ministry, which were lodged by the ministry staff at the President’s Office and the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services.
Waheed was fired on 9 July 2020, marking the first time a cabinet minister was fired over allegations of sexual abuse after he failed to tender his resignation as per the order.
During a press conference held on 16 July 2020, Chief Inspector Mariyam Azma revealed that the sexual harassment case against Ali Waheed was formally lodged at the authorities on July 9, after which the police collected statements from a total of 15 individuals.
After being summoned to Maldives Police Service for the first time since the claims surfaced, Waheed described the accusations against him to the media as a politically motivated matter.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, a total of seven counts of sexual offences were filed as six cases against the former Minister at the Criminal Court of the Maldives. These being;
- One count of sexual abuse under article 16 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
- One count of attempted rape under article 15 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
- One count of indecent exposure under article 132 of The Constitution of Maldives
- One count of sexual harassment under article 18 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
- One count of attempted sexual abuse under article 19 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
- Two counts of unlawful sexual contact under article 81 and 412 of The Constitution of Maldives.
In addition to the sexual harassment case, Ali Waheed is also under investigation by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) regarding eight different issues which were highlighted in the compliance report published by the Auditor General’s Office, concerning the expenses made by the Ministry of Tourism with regards to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Till date, Ali Waheed has denied all the charges that were raised against him. However, if he is found guilty of the charges levied against him, Waheed will face up to 21 years imprisonment.