The Prosecutor General’s Office has withdrawn the sexual assault charges against former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed.
Ali Waheed who in on the run after being charged with sexual harassment and rape during his tenure as Tourism Minister, is currently believed to be living UK exited the Maldives on February 10, 2021, after the court released his passport to receive medical treatment.
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 the expenses made by the Ministry of Tourism with regards to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the charges were sent back to the prosecutor’s office on September 22, 2022 after the state failed to bring Ali Waheed back for the trial. Therefore, the case was sent back to the police on October 6. 2022 by the prosecutor’s office to be refiled when Ali Waheed returns back.
The prosecutor’s office said the decision to withdraw the charges was taken after previous statements against Ali Waheed by those who testified against him did not want to pursue the case further. Therefore, the police asked for a re-review of the case, the prosecutor’s office said.
The prosecutor’s office said the case could be continued without their testimony. Since the main evidence in the case was the testimony of the victims and witnesses and there was no way the case could have been proved without the testimony of those witnesses, it was decided not to proceed with the proceedings and the case was withdrawn.
Ali Waheed has been sentenced to two months and 12 days in jail for failing to appear in court in connection with an appeal filed by the prosecution in the Supreme Court.
Ali Waheed’s case became complicated when the Criminal Court decided to release Ali Waheed’s passport indefinitely, following his request to travel abroad for medical treatment. Since then, he has not attended his trial proceedings, which led the Criminal Court to sentence him to jail for two months.
However, before authorities were able to extradite him back to the Maldives to serve his sentence, on 29th November 2021, the Criminal Court ordered him to be presented to court for a second time.
Ali Waheed’s initial release for treatment was granted on a condition of Ali Waheed’s guaranteed return which was signed by former State Minister of Youth, Sports and Empowerment Assad Ali (Adubarey), who is now serving a jail sentence due to Ali Waheed’s failure to return, which was issued in his absence while he was abroad.
Since returning back to the Maldives soon after the court order, he surrendered himself to Maldives Correctional Service, and is now serving his sentence in Hulhumalé Jail.