Malé, Maldives — Criminal Court hearing for former Tourism Minister, Ali Waheed, currently on trial for 7 counts of sexual offences have been scheduled for 15:00 on June 21, 2021.
Initially, the hearing was set to commence on June 10, however, it was later cancelled on the day of the hearing, a day before the former Tourism Minister requested for online hearing via letter to the Maldives Criminal Court. The reason for the cancellation was not revealed.
Alleged sexual offender Ali Waheed exited Maldives after assigning State Minister for Youth and Sports Assad Ali as his guarantor prior to his departure.
Ali Waheed who fled from the country, after his passport was released due to a medical emergency, was also supposed to arrive to Maldives on June as his medical treatment duration of 4 months has expired, however, he has not returned to the country yet.
The Prosecutor General’s Office is charging the suspect Ali Waheed with a total of seven counts of sexual offences 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.
The Prosecutor General (PG) of Maldives Hussain Shameem stated that the PG Office has the option to pursue an Interpol red notice to bring back the defendant.
Waheed was fired on July 9, 2020, marking the first time a cabinet minister was fired over allegations of sexual abuse to his co-workers after he failed to tender his resignation as per the order of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih after the ministry’s staffs sent a detailed letter of the case to the president.
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.
To 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.