PG to be summoned to Parliament over ex-tourism minister's departure

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem will be summoned to the Parliament for questioning over former Tourism MInister Ali Waheed’s departure from Maldives following a lift on his travel ban.

Four members of the Parliament’s Judiciary Committee on Monday proposed to summon the Prosecutor General for questioning on the matter. They include Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain, Galolhu South MP Eva Abdulla, Addu MEedhoo MP Rozaina Adam and Hinnavaru MP Jihan Mahmood. Shameem will be summoned to the Parliament next Monday.

Seven charges were raised against the former minister by the Prosector General’s Office regarding acts of sexual harassment that are said to have been committed by the minister during his time in office. The charges raised against Ali Waheed include inflicting sexual injury under Article 16 of Sexual Offences Act, attempted rape under Article 15 of the same act, indecent exposure under Section 132 of the Penal Code, sexual assault under Article 18 of the Sexual Offences Act, attempt to cause sexual assault under Article 19 of the Sexual Offences Act, and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct under section 412 and 81 of the Penal Code. A travel ban was issued against him in July 2020.

Ali Waheed departed to the United Kingdom earlier this week after the Criminal Court lifted a travel ban issued against him. According to the Criminal Court, Ali was allowed to leave the country after a doctor confirmed that he required medical treatment abroad.

While the court’s decision to lift the travel ban and allow Ali to leave the country targeted harsh criticism against the government, many have pointed out that the explanations provided by the Criminal Court and the Prosecutor General's Office regarding Ali Waheed’s departure contradicts each other.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has acknowledged that events that led to Ali Waheed’s departure from the Maldives was not according to procedure. Ali left the country before the Criminal Court order lifting the travel ban could be appealed, PG said. The order has now been appealed.

Ali Waheed departed from the Maldives on February 9th. Questions are being asked whether he left the country prior to the Criminal Court issuing the order lifting the travel ban. However, Maldives Immigration has denied the claims.