Top court upholds order to lift travel ban on ex-VP

The Supreme Court has ruled that a travel ban issued by the Criminal Court against former Vice President Abdulla Jihad was unconstitutional.

Jihad, who has also served at the Governor and the Finance Minister has been charged with misconduct during his time as Finance Minister, which resulted in losses to the state in a beneficial situation. The charge was raised with regard to the development of K. Fushidhiggarufalhi as a specialist tourist zone. The joint venture agreement for the development of Fushidhiggarufalhi was signed on January 18, 2013. Although it was decided that the project would be awarded to a foreign party during former president Mohamed Nasheed’s adminstration, the contract was awarded later during former president Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik’s administration.

While the case has now entered the court process, Jihad requested the state to allow him to travel abroad for medical purposes last year. The Criminal Court held a hearing on the matter on December 24, 2020. The state refused to allow Jihad to travel abroad during the hearing, stating that he was a flight risk. The presiding judge agreed with the state and ruled that Jihad cannot be allowed to travel abroad at this time.

The Criminal Court’s decision was challenged at the High Court. After the appeal hearings, the High Court in January ruled that the Criminal Court’s ruling on the matter was incorrect. Although the Criminal Court’s ruling had stated that Jihad was looking to flee Maldives ahead of his trial, the evidence submitted by the state was not sufficient to declare that Jihad was attempting to flee the country, said the High Court.

The matter was then appealed at the Supreme Court by the state. In its ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court ruling that the Criminal Court’s decision on the matter was incorrect. In its verdict, the Supreme Court said the evidence submitted by the state to support its claim that Jihad is a flight risk is not substantial.
Jihad has been receiving treatment for diabetes since 2013, and frequently travels to Dubai to undergo medical tests related to his condition. He has also suffered from serious neck injuries in the past. All medical certificates validating his conditions were presented to the court by Jihad.