Malé, Maldives – The High Court hearing of Former Tourism Minister charged with seven counts of sexual offences came to a halt after the prosecutors failed to clarify the current address of the defendant.
Prosecutor General’s Office (PG Office) is given until 14:00 tomorrow to find the current address of Ali Waheed, after which the court will decide on allowing further hearings for the case.
PG Office believes that the case can be heard under special circumstances in the absence of the defendant.
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.
Ali Waheed flew to the Turkey on February 10, 2021 after the court granted the release of his passport, accepting his request to seek ‘urgent medical care’, after placing his close friend and State Minister of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Asadh Ali as his guarantor.
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 at the time.
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.
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.