President says sacking Ali Waheed as Tourism Minister was ‘right decision’

(From L-R) Then-Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and JP leader and Maamingili MP Qasim Ibrahim. (File Photo/President's Office)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said on Wednesday that he believes his decision to dismiss Ali Waheed as Tourism Minister following allegations of sexual harassment to be the right decision.

In an interview to RaajjeTV, President Solih said the decision to dismiss Ali Waheed had been necessary, and that he made the decision after consulting with Qasim Ibrahim, the leader of Jumhoory Party (JP) – the government coalition partner Ali Waheed was a member of.

He said that failure to make immediate action would have caused further issues in the future.

“It was the right decision. I believe I needed to make the decision when the case was brought to my attention. I believe the then-Tourism Minister Ali Waheed too will accept it as such… The decision I made then was something I needed to take immediate action on. I believed it would otherwise result in greater consequences. I made consultations before I made the decision. I made the decision after consulting with Jumhoory Party’s leader as well,” he said.

President Solih said that he dismissed Ali Waheed because it was necessary, but that he wished him well.

“I wish good things for Ali Waheed, always. Ali Waheed is a remarkable politician with a political future. Providing Ali Waheed with the opportunity to shape his future as he wishes is something we will all do,” he said.

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

Ali Waheed has had a travel ban against him in connection to the case since July 12. The police searched his residence, and brought in him for questioning on July 19.

Speaking to press after giving his statement to the police, Ali Waheed professed his innocence and said that he was being framed.

Ali Waheed said he believes the case against him to be influenced by politicians, and that a fair and independent investigation will prove his innocence as well as the reason why he was being framed.

The police concluded their investigation into the case submitted it to the Prosecutor General's Office for charges on October 7.