Prosecutor General (PG) Muhuthaz Muhsin has withdrawn corruption charges against Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed’s wife.
The Anti Corruption Commission in August 2013 requested the PG to press corruption charges against Fathimath Afiya for forming a company with a foreigner.
The 2000 Corruption Prevention Act bars minister’s spouses from engaging in business with foreign parties with punishment of imprisonment, house arrest or banishment for a period up to three years.
Afiyaa had established a company with Dubai-based Indian Muslim businessman Firoz Ghulam Khan to sell jewellery to resorts.
She reportedly owned 1500 shares in ‘Pure Gold Jewelry Maldives Private Limited’ while Khan controlled 103,500 shares.
In a press conference at the Islamic Ministry in September 2012, Khan announced that he would donate a sum of US$10,000 to the Zakat fund every month in a bid to support the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
“Zakat (Alms) is not something given as charity. This is something I am obliged to do. Zakat money is something that should be given to the needy. I have told Minister Shaheem that I will deposit the money to the fund in the first week of every month,” he was quoted saying in the media at the time.
The Criminal Court said the charges had been withdrawn in September.
Muhsin in August announced a new policy to drop charges against first time offenders for petty crimes under a “second chance programme.”
Eligibility criteria includes consideration of the seriousness of crime, the circumstances under which it was committed, physical or psychological harm caused, the rights of injured parties, and the penalty prescribed by law.
Persons who commit crimes for which a punishment is prescribed in Islamic Shariah would not be eligible, Muhsin noted.
Article 15(a) of the Corruption Prevention Act states – “The Chief Justice, or the Speaker of Parliament, or a member of cabinet, or a cabinet minister, or anyone having a position equivalent to that, or the Auditor General, or the Commissioner of Elections, or a Judge of High Court, or an Atoll Chief, or the wife or the husband of any such person, or any state employee which the President decides so and their spouses having private business relations with a foreign party is an offence.”
Minister Shaheem – who was placed among the top 500 most influential Muslims in 2010 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISC) Jordan – was earlier also accused of sexual misconduct in a video broadcast by local media Raajje TV, in which he was seen speaking with a figure in a hijab before leading her through a doorway.