Sexual assault case against ex-minister dropped

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed at a press conference on March 8, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The case against former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed for the sexual assault of multiple female employees at the Tourism Ministry has been filed.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) said that the victims and witnesses in the case had sent a letter to the PGO and the police, requesting the authorities to drop the case.

Following the letter, the police asked for a review of the case.

“Upon a review to see whether we can proceed with the prosecution without their testimony, we found that as the key evidence in the case is the testimony of the victims and the witnesses, and because the case cannot be proved without their testimony, we have decided to drop the aforementioned charges, and have rejected the case as of June 6, 2023,” said the PGO.

Ali Waheed was dismissed as Tourism Minister on July 9, 2020, after allegations that he sexually assaulted and harassed multiple female employees at the Tourism Ministry was brought to the attention of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He was initially asked to voluntarily resign, but was dismissed after he refused.

He was pressed with seven charges; attempted rape, inflicting a sexual, indecent exposure, sexual assault, attempt to cause sexual assault, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact.

He initially had a travel ban order against him, but the Criminal Court temporarily released his passport and allowed him to travel overseas for medical treatment on February 9, 2021, despite requests by the PGO not to release his passport and grant him temporary travel papers instead.

Ali Waheed promptly left for the UK.

He failed to return to Maldives despite the fact that the four-month period granted by the court for his travel overseas expired in June 2021.

The court dismissed the case in September 2022, instructing the PGO to refile charges once he can be presented to court.

The PGO sent the case back to the police in October 2022, instructing the law enforcement agency to resubmit the case once Ali Waheed returns to Maldives.

An Interpol red notice for his arrest was issued in April 2022. However, efforts to have been extradited to Maldives failed.

Ali Waheed has been living in the UK since 2021, where he coaches the Sporting London FC.