Deputy Minister Shimaz: Politicians behind ‘cowardly’ attack

Deputy Transport Minister Shimaz Ali.

Deputy Transport Minister Shimaz Ali has described the recent physical attack on him as a cowardly attack orchestrated by some politicians.

The attack on him had come after Transport Minister Aishath Nahula sent a letter to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih back in October, asking him to dismiss Shimaz based on a 2021 investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which found him and five other Transport Ministry officials guilty of corruption in the award of a government contract to Versagio Pvt. Ltd. to manufacture machine-readable license plates back in 2020.

Shimaz had faced threats and had the seat of his motorbike slashed in the wake of the letter. And on Friday night, he was physically assaulted by a group of people on a road in Male’ City.

Shimaz made his first public comment regarding the attack in a tweet Sunday.

“The dangerous attack on me on Friday night, November 18, 2022, was a cowardly attack orchestrated by some politicians,” he said.

Shimaz noted the attack had come after he faced multiple threats.

He called on the police to investigate and find out the people involved in the attack as well as the people who orchestrated the attack as soon as possible.

Shimaz was appointed as Deputy Minister of Transport in February 2019, on a slot granted to the government coalition partner Maldives Reform Movement (MRM).

Both Nahula and her party, another government coalition partner, Jumhoory Party (JP) have denied rumors of her involvement in the attack on Shimaz.

Nahula condemned the attack in a tweet early Saturday.

“The different attempts to influence the case as it is being investigated and the rumors being circulated with reference to me and my family are ugly acts of slander,” she said. “I will not backdown from whatever must be done to stop corruption.”

ACC had sought charges of misuse of official authority to confer an undue advantage against Shimaz and the other Transport Ministry officials in connection to the corruption case.

However, the case was dropped by the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) citing lack of evidence.

The President’s Office has yet to make a decision regarding the request for Shimaz’s dismissal.