Attack on Shimaaz: 21-year-old suspect remanded for 10 days

Deputy Transport Minister Shimaz Ali.

A suspect arrested in connection to the attack on Deputy Transport Minister Shimaz Ali has been remanded in police custody for 10 days.

Shimaz was attacked on the night of November 18.

A Police Spokesperson told Sun on Wednesday that a 21-year-old Maldivian man was arrested in connection to the case on November 22.

He was presented for a remand hearing on November 23, where the Criminal Court granted a remand period of 10 days.

Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for the man read that there was sufficient evidence to suspect he committed the crime.

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.

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

Shimaz had faced threats and had the seat of his motorbike slashed in the wake of the letter before he was attacked.

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

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.”

Nahula’s letter to the President also accused Shimaz of registering vehicles illegally for undue benefits.

The President’s Office has yet to make a decision regarding the request for Shimaz’s dismissal. The President’s Office’s Spokesperson Miuvaan Mohamed confirmed receiving the letter in question. He said that action would be taken against Shimaz after probe, if necessary.