Statements of 15 individuals recorded; ex-minister still not questioned

Maldives Police on Thursday said the statements of 15 individuals have been recorded over sexual harassment allegations directed against former tourism minister Ali Waheed.

Several employees working at the ministry recently came forward and informed President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih that they were harassed by the then-minister over multiple occasions. As soon as the information was shared with the president, he immediately ordered Ali Waheed’s resignation, with which the tourism minister did not comply. He was later dismissed from the cabinet. His place of residence has been searched, and a travel ban has been imposed against him.

Speaking at a press conference held Thursday evening, Chief Inspector Mariyam Azma confirmed that the statement of 15 persons have been recorded by the police. She did not specify if the statements were given by the victims. The investigation of the case is ongoing in liaison with the Prosecutor General’s Office, confirmed the police.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Abdul Mannan Yusuf said the disgraced minister has not been questioned over the allegations thus far as the current progress in the investigation has not given any grounds for questioning. His passport was withheld to ensure that he is available for questioning when required, said the police. Evidence to support the accusations against the minister are being obtained, and Ali Waheed’s place of residence was searched and a laptop and a mobile phone were seized, added the police. However, not much information regarding the evidence was shared by the police, stating that the investigation was still in its early stages.