Opposition questions governments seriousness over sexual abuse cases

Spokesperson of the Opposition Coalition and PPM, Heena Waleed and campaign manager Muaz Mohamed Rasheed seen at a press conference | Photo: Raajje MV

Malé, Maldives – The opposition has highly criticised the government following Former Tourism Ali Waheed who is currently accused of sexually abusing female employees of the Tourism Ministry, leaving the country while his trials were ongoing, saying that this proves how the current administration has no seriousness to find justice for the victims in such cases.

Speaking at Thursday night’s PPM/PNC meeting, Chief Spokesperson Heena Waleed raised the question as to where the zero tolerance regulation on sexual abuse, harrasment and rape, promised by the current administration is. She added that what the citizens are seeing is culprits such as Ali Waheed who are high government officials, fleeing from justice.

Heena Waleed further went on to accuse the government of enabling Ali Waheed to fee to “brighten his future” while noting that this is an injustice to the 13 employees of the Tourism Ministry who have allegedly been sexually abused by the former Tourism Minister.

The government is saying that they learned of Ali Waheed’s departure from newses and tv. The President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih previously saying that Ali Waheed has a promising political future and that we need to allow him to shape it however he wants. This is why there is no way that President Solih can be excluded from this.

Heena Waleed

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the decision to release Ali Waheed’s passport was taken following a doctor’s recommendation. Defending the decision, the Criminal Court said that the passport was released as a guarantor for Ali Waheed’s return was presented to the court. This is the first time that an individual accused of such a crime has been released for medical purposes with a guarantor for his return.

Heena Waleed said that many high government officials of this administration and Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director level people are being accused of sexual abuse. She added regarding the case of Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Gas Ali Ikram, which recently surfaced saying that no appropriate action from the government will be taken regarding the case.

Heena further said that the Communications Director of the President’s Office Hassan Ismail who was accused of sexual harrasment was working in the office till quite recently which shows how the government is taking action is such cases. She also noted that no action was taken against Home Minister Imran Abdullah in charges raised against him by the police.

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 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.

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.