High Court decided on Sunday that they cannot issue an order to hold former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed's passport as requested.
Ali Waheed, accused of rape and sexually abusing several employees while he was minister, is currently in the United Kingdom.
He left Maldives in February for medical reasons and did not return as previously agreed. Afterwards, the state had requested the Criminal Court to hold his passport, but the court did not.
Later the state appealed this case in High Court.
High Court said they were unable to issue an order to hold his passport as the police had requested to hold the diplomatic passport he held when he was the minister. As the diplomatic passport was cancelled shortly after he was terminated as minister, Ali Waheed had travelled abroad with his personal passport. High Court said they would therefore be unable to hold a cancelled passport.
A Judge from the 3 member bench said the High Court should have been able to issue an order to hold the passport, as intent behind the request was clear.
The verdict stated since the state had requested to hold the diplomatic passport that was cancelled in August, 2020, instead of his personal passport, it shows that they had not carried out their due diligence or their duties correctly. The state had said this was something done to "show that they did something”. They had also said these actions were taking time away from the court from actually carrying out their duties.
High Court's verdict also said the state had submitted enough evidence against Ali Waheed. However, as he has held high ranking positions in the past, it is likely that he would try to make the case not proceed to trial.
After taking in Ali Waheed's recent actions, High Court said he has to be considered as someone that has fled the nation and it is highly likely that he would not return.
Ali Waheed also has a jail sentence of two months and 12 days issued against him, for contempt of court. He received this sentence due to failure to attend court hearings.