Parliament to summon PG over Ali Waheed’s departure

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem | Photo: Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives – The Parliament has decided for Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem to be summoned to the Parliament’s Judiciary Committee over the departure of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed’s while his trials for sexual assault on Tourism Ministry employees were unfinished.

Ali Waheed departed from the Maldives to the UK on February 10, after his passport was released by the Criminal Court. He had been charged with a number of sexual crimes by employees of the Tourism Ministry which resulted in him getting fired from his post.

Four female parliamentarians requested an inquiry into the matter in a letter to Speaker Mohamed Nasheed after expressing concern over the departure of Waheed. The four MPs are Addu-Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam, Hinnavaru MP Jeehaan Mahmood, Deputy Speaker, and South Galolhu MP Eva Abdulla and Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain.

The Judiciary Committee has forwarded the letter which moved to summon PG Shameem next Monday. The letter by the MPs seeks to confirm whether the state had not objected to the release of Ali Waheed’s passport. The letter also seeks to clarify which measures the PG Office was taking to ensure that Ali Waheed’s trial would go on.

It also requests to seek any changes that needed to be brought to the legal procedure to prevent any such instances and the measures to be taken for the enforcement of these changes.

The PG Office has now appealed the decision to release the passport of Waheed. His travel documents were released after an Orthopedic doctor named Dr. Yoosuf Shaan testified in court that Waheed required spinal surgery. Waheed’s passport was released for four months.

If he does not return within the time period, the State Minister of the Youth Ministry Assad Ali (Adubarey) is to face the legal consequences, after being named as the guarantor. Ali Waheed’s sudden departure had seen the government met with intense outrage.

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.