Malé, Maldives – The parliament passes a motion to oversee the departure of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, who has been accused of allegations of seven counts of sexual assault by Tourism Ministry Staff.
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 Maldives Penal Code 9/2014.
On February 9, the Criminal court released Ali Waheed’s passport following which he immediately departed. Four female members of the parliament signed a motion to investigate if there was any negligence of authorities, in giving Ali Waheed permission to travel. Judiciary Committee made a report on the case which was presented to the parliamentary floor today and received 33 votes.
Prosecutor General’s Office filed a disciplinary issue of the judge that released Ali Waheed’s passport to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). This was why the parliament decided on overseeing of the case, along with many other recommendations. One of them was to amend the law to give a temporary travel permit for important criminal offenders instead of their passport.
The report further stated that the financial background of the criminal has to be checked before a green light is to be given for his travels, and that the date of departure and arrival need to be noted.
Chairman of Judiciary Committee of the Parliament, Imthiyaz Fahmy has stated that even if a person is an alleged criminal, if he is not in custody then he has the right to travel to the islands of Maldives as well as to other countries.
The order for releasing Ali Waheed’s passport was released for four months. If he does not return to Maldives within those four months, his friend and guarantor, Youth Ministry’s State Minister Asadh Ali (Adubarey) will be penalized.