No reports from international partners on Ali Waheed’s arrest: Police

Ali Waheed, charged with 7 counts of sexual offences | Photo: Tourism Ministry

Malé, Maldives – Maldives Police today informed that there is no formal communication from any international administrations on fugitive Ali Waheed’s arrest in the United Kingdom.

Local news outlets reported that Tourism Minister charged with 7 counts of sexual offences was arrested at approximately 16:00 in Maldives’ time on 25 August 2021, as he was preparing for a press conference to speak about the charges against him.

Waheed’s lawyer says that the suspect was arrested for overstaying his visa and has requested for an extension until doctors make a decision on a spinal surgery.

Ali Waheed fled from the country, citing a medical emergency, after his passport was released. He was initially scheduled to arrive in the Maldives in early June as his medical treatment duration of 4 months had expired.

The Supreme Court sentenced Ali Waheed to 2 months and 12 days in jail following his failure to attend his trial hearing scheduled at 13:00 on 11 August 2021. Police have since informed that they are assessing ways to bring back the fugitive to the Maldives.

Waheed was removed from office 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.

The Prosecutor General’s Office charged 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.

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 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 have been raised against him. However, if he is found guilty of the charges levied against him, Waheed will face up to 21 years imprisonment.