Malé, Maldives – Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services,Aishath Mohamed Didi expresses her disappointment of the departure of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, who was sacked over sexual harassment of female employees.
Gender Minister Aishath tweeted regarding this and stated that it is very important to find a way to investigate a case without being biased to the sexually abused victims or the accused perpetrator in a way. She stated that this is the most important thing needed to provide justice to the one needed in such cases.
Sources have revealed that Waheed flew to London on the 9th of February via a Turkish Airline flight as soon as his passport was released by the court. In a court hearing that was held, Waheed’s defence presented his doctor to the court to inform that several disks in his backbone are damaged to which the court allowed Waheed’s departure for medical treatment.
The departure of Waheed has resulted in several higher authorities dissatissfied with the action including several female MPs of Maldives who urged the government to investigate Waheed’s departure.
Along with this the The Prosecutor General of Maldives Hussain Shameem has also raised concerns over the procedural practices followed in releasing the passport of Waheed.
Ali Waheed’s passport was seized during July of last year, with regards to the sexual harassment issues that came to light at the time, however, as the duration of seizure came close to an end, the PG applied for an extension of the duration, which in return, got rejected and subsequently resulted in the annulment of the existing court order to seize Waheed’s passport.
Following major public criticism after Ali Waheed took the best of the opportunity and left the country citing health issues, the PG’s statement revealed that the Criminal Court’s practices with regards to this case were out of the norms, and that passport should have only been released in the circumstance that the health condition of the individual in question is not treatable in the Maldives and requires urgent medical attention.
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.
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.