The state broadcasting company, Public Service Media (PSM), has let off a senior technical officer found guilty of sexual harassment with a warning.
PSM spokesperson Abdulla Rameez refused to confirm the decision made by an internal committee following an inquiry, saying: “We do not give out information that would harm our staff’s dignity.”
But a copy of the committee’s decision obtained by Minivan News states the accused was warned in writing “after considering the seriousness of the case.”
The PSM said in a statement yesterday that “a just decision” was made in accordance with the law and that the offender has been punished.
According to 2014 sexual harassment law, government offices must set up internal committees to investigate complaints of workplace harassment within 60 days. The committee is authorised to warn, suspend or dismiss the perpetrator.
The PSM operates the Television Maldives (TVM) channel and a radio station.
A senior PSM staff who wished to remain anonymous told Minivan News that the technical officer had “groped a woman’s breasts.”
Other PSM employees who spoke to Minivan News alleged that “many girls were subjected to sexual harassment from the technical officer.”
“They never looked into the case when there have been numerous cases where he assaulted women. This time they had no other choice but to investigate the matter after it was exposed in the local media,” an employee said.
Another staff member criticised the company’s attitude towards sexual offences after “the technical officer’s matter was handled lightly. He was allowed to work while still the case being investigated. He is here as if nothing had happened.”
CNM reported yesterday that the accused senior official was “forgiven” by the committee.
The PSM, however, denied the media reports in its press statement, noting that the complainant has the right to appeal the committee’s decision but had not done so.
The state broadcaster said it regretted the misleading media reports that has brought PSM into disrepute and threatened to sue media outlets for damages.
According to CNM, the incident occurred three weeks ago at the PSM recording library. Sources told the online news outlet that the technical officer grabbed the woman from behind and groped her breasts.
The committee decided to pardon the offender because he has worked at the state broadcaster for 22 years, the sources claimed. The technical officer had reportedly confessed to the committee.
Last month, a manager at the state-owned Hulhumalé Development Corporation (HDC) was also let off with a warning after he was found guilty of sexually harassing a female employee.
The HDC’s human resources manager Mirshan Ahmed was accused of sending inappropriate text messages to an employee who had joined the company in March.