Former Maldivian Tourism Minister Ali Wahid Returns to a Controversial Welcome Amidst Allegations

  • Maldives
  • Politics
  • Featured
PUBLISHED 13 July 2023

The return of Ali Wahid, the former Maldivian Tourism Minister, has sparked controversy and raised important questions within the nation. Ali, who faced severe allegations involving rape, sexual assault, indecent exposure, and unauthorized sexual intercourse from 15 employees of the Tourism Ministry, has come back to the Maldives after spending time in the UK, asserting his innocence and newfound freedom.

Controversial Welcome and Surprising Support:

Ali's return has drawn attention due to the unexpected warm welcome he received from a significant number of people. At the official bridge, familiar faces and numerous supporters gathered, singing songs, waving the national flag, and presenting him with flowers. This reception can be attributed, in part, to his success in sporting endeavors, including winning the Centennial Cup B with Sporting London in March 2022.

Background of Allegations and Denials:

It is worth noting that in July 2020, following allegations of sexual assault made by female employees of the Tourism Ministry, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih demanded Ali Wahid's resignation. However, Ali refused to step down, leading the President to remove him from his position. Subsequently, an investigation was launched, and Ali's passport was seized to prevent him from leaving the country. Testimonies from Tourism Ministry employees supported the allegations against Ali, although he consistently denied all charges, claiming they were part of a politically motivated plot against him.

Return and Controversial Circumstances:

In February 2021, Ali left the Maldives after the Criminal Court ordered the release of his passport. During his time abroad, he faced a 15-day imprisonment in the UK for overstaying his visa, despite having applied for an extension.

Implications and Questions:

Ali Wahid's controversial return has reignited concerns and prompted discussions about justice and accountability within the Maldives. The warm reception he received has raised questions regarding public support for individuals facing serious allegations. As the nation grapples with this complex issue, the impact of Ali Wahid's return on the political and social landscape of the Maldives remains uncertain.