Maldives government terminates Nexbis agreement, gives 14 days to vacate

The Maldives government has terminated its agreement with Malaysian security firm Nexbis to install and operate a border control system, giving it 14 days to vacate.

Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim local media that the disputed contract – signed under the previous government of former President Mohamed Nasheed in 2010 – was terminated by the cabinet yesterday over fears it was causing unspecified “major losses” to the state.

The termination was announced as immigration officials today said replacement technology being provided by the US government was not presently functional, with implementation “on hold” pending a legal hearing into the matter.

Department of Immigration Spokesperson Ibrahim Ashraf told Minivan News this morning that he had not personally been made aware of any decision by the government to terminate the agreement.

However, Ashraf confirmed that replacement technology being provided free of charge by the US government was “not 100 percent functional” at present.

“Because of legal issues, the project has been on hold,” he explained.

Immigration officials last month confirmed that “testing” had been underway on the new US-donated system, while Nexbis’ border control technology remained in use to monitor the arrivals and departures of foreign nationals

Ashraf referred further questions on the Nexbis system to Immigration Controller Dr Mohamed Ali, who was not responding to calls at time of press.

Nexbis is the second high profile foreign investment to be suddenly evicted by the administration of President Dr Mohamed Waheed in the past 12 months.

The government last November announced it was terminating a 25-year concession agreement with India-based GMR to construct and operate a new terminal at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) in Male, giving the company seven days to vacate the country.

GMR is currently seeking compensation totaling US$1.4 billion from the government as part of arbitration proceedings to be heard in a Singaporean court, damages eclipsing the annual state budget.

Speaking to local media today, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was quoted as saying that the government expected to assume control of the country’s borders at the end of the 14 day notice period given to Nexbis.

He claimed that the US system was also “ready to be operational”, although no decision had yet been made to use the technology.

Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor added that discussions were presently being held with Nexbis over reaching an out of court settlement for terminating the contract, although she declined to provide any more details to media today.

“We assure you that the burden on the state will be far less with the termination of the agreement rather than continuing with it. We will take this process forward in the best interest of the state,” she was quoted as saying by Haveeru.

Concession agreement

Under the concession agreement signed with the Maldives government, Nexbis levied a fee of US$2 from passengers in exchange for installing, maintaining and upgrading the country’s immigration system.  The company also agreed a fee of US$15 for every work permit card issued under the system.

Both AG Azima and Defence Minister Nazim were not responding to calls at time of press.

Nexbis last month invoiced the Department of Immigration and Emigration for US$2.8 million (MVR 43 million) for the installation and operation of its border control technology in line with a concession agreement signed in 2010 – requesting payment be settled within 30 days.

Nexbis’ lawyers argued that the company had expected the fee to be included in the taxes and surcharges applied to airline tickets in and out of the country, according to local media.  However, lawyers argued these payments had not been made due to the government’s “neglect” in notifying the relevant international authorities.

Minivan News was awaiting a response from Suood, Anwar & Co – the company’s legal representatives in the Maldives – at time of press.

Parliamentary vote

Parliament had voted unanimously to terminate the agreement on 25 December 2012, in line with a recommendation from the Finance Committee alleging foul play in the signing of the agreement with former Immigration Controller Illyas Hussain Ibrahim.

Presenting the Finance Committee report to the floor, Chair MP Ahmed Nazim explained at the time that the “main problem” flagged by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was that the tender had not been made in accordance with the documents by the National Planning Council authorising the project.

The Finance Committee also recommended terminating the agreement over concerns it contained clauses to waive taxes to the company, Nazim said.

He noted that imposing or waiving taxes was a prerogative of parliament under article 97(d) of the constitution.

Following parliament’s termination of the project in December, Nexbis sought a legal injunction to prevent any cancellation of the agreement while court hearings over the contract were still ongoing.

The company had sought to contest whether the ACC has the power to compulsorily request the government to cease all work in relation to the border control system agreement.

However, in April of this year, the High Court overturned a Civil Court ruling declaring the ACC could not terminate a border control system (BSC) agreement signed by the Department of Immigration with Malaysian mobile security firm Nexbis.

The High Court ruling (Dhivehi) cleared the way for the Civil Court to hear the case filed by the ACC should it be resubmitted.

Nexbis has emphatically denied allegations of corruption, previously speculating that “criminal elements supporting human trafficking” were seeking to sabotage the agreement.


22 thoughts on “Maldives government terminates Nexbis agreement, gives 14 days to vacate”

  1. Do anybody can answer do you think a agreement can cancel when Azima wants?

    Do you know why ACC running behind this project and why IMMIGRATION was not present in parliament committee?

    Why last mint again ACC send a letter not pay the payment of Nexbis what was the deal between Azima and ACC?

    Why ACC wants to hold Nexbis equipments and Laptops?

    Why ACC and JAMEEL and Azima change sh ilyas! What was the thread for ACC?

    We have evidence ACC is corrupt.

  2. "replacement technology being provided by the US government" .....

    Did you ever hear about NSA/CIA etc - data collections during the last years in Germany & rest of Europe & the world???

    First PRISM, Now XKeyscore, Cloud Surveillance is Wake-up Call for the Enterprise
    Extensive NSA Snooping Generates Cloud Data Protection Concerns.

  3. 14 days? Is that part of the exit clause in the agreement?

    Why bother with the agreement? As one of our most educated Members of Parliament, Kutti Nasheed, when he was the Telecoms minister said,'If the TV signal is in the Mordis skies, we will decode and broadcast. No need to pay ESPN'. He referred to soccer world cup matches.

    The point being, nobody cares a damn about contract, ethics, morality in the Mordis.

    Going with Mordis norm, i expected you would give them 5 minutes to throw their shxt out!

  4. PPM supporters, waive goodbye to foreign investors (other than your beloved Saudis and the U.S. military, both scum of the earth) if your man wins next month.

  5. Another day in paradise; another investor gets the boot. Investor return home to lick their wounds.

    To be perfectly honest, this was a doomed project right from the start. If people think the GMR deal was dubious, the Nexbis one was a lot worse. Fingers were pointed at the former Immigration Controller.

    I think it's high time, the country had its first ever Public Inquiry into these two major events, i.e. GMR and Nexbis. Otherwise, no lessons would be learned and history will repeat itself.

  6. In Mordis you borrow money, the onus is on the lender to beg for his own money. You take a loan, it is quite ok to not even attempt to pay it back. You never pay your phone bill, until the phone company disconnects services (and then you rage at the poor clerks, same for the electricity and water bills. You do not pay rent in time, sometimes incurring arrears for several months; but then again landlords may toss you out at anytime after exhorting you for what you got, so unpaid rents is for the best. Contracts are drawn to be broken.

    Mordisians know this, now investors know this. No points for guessing who suffers. Talk about shortsightedness!

    There is a reason for all of this, Mordisians are not in anyway inherently a deadbeat lazy race compared to other cultures. Europeans on their high horses reading this would be doing the same if there were no consequences for their actions. They have the rule of law, we don't and that is the difference.

  7. Is it perfectly acceptable to give the United States backdoor access to border control. Of course, the United States has a deep vested interest in keeping tabs on dubious characters.

    But this is not just restricted to the United States. If you buy telecoms equipment from China, then you're opening up all your telecoms traffic to the Peoples' Republic's Communist Party!

    So, to summarise, the Chinese know pretty much everything that's whispered in the Maldives and the United States knows everything that's passing through our borders.

  8.! Where have we seen this before? Holy Crap! Just like what happened to GMR. Anyway...who are Indians? Now its Nexbis turn. Who are Malaysians anyway? Hey! Now maybe its time to eat Chinese fly noodles. Bon Apetit

  9. The problem is that the Gov is broke and can't pay the bill.

    "Nexbis last month invoiced the Department of Immigration and Emigration for US$2.8 million (MVR 43 million) for the installation and operation of its border control technology in line with a concession agreement signed in 2010 – requesting payment be settled within 30 days"

  10. Another contract illegally terminated by the bankrupt government of Maldives.
    Is this part of the ongoing mess your immigration system is in?
    As I said before the short, fat and dim people of Maldives seem incapable of operating a computerised system with an input keyboard.
    You guys need to import a few dhows from the arabs and get back to things you can tuna don't need a lot of brains for seem really good at making beds, cleaning out the toilets and serving food and vino on your resorts.
    Leave the clever and difficult stuff for the Indians ( I am falling about laughing now).
    No comments in poor Maldivian English.....please.

  11. Its actually a long overdue decision. One can manage a database for Maldives with a small microsoft access database. we have a few hundred comings and goings per day. We dont need to waste 2 billion Rufiyaas on a big scam like this. This is not foreign investment. this is day light robbery of naive people's hard earned money.

  12. hey 'human being', enjoy paying off your debts before you speak for us.

  13. Peasent it's true. No human can refrain from abusing power. I don't know any Maldivian catholic priests and catholic priests abuse their power more than anyone else on earth. Why? Because they can. I am sincerely sorry for coming across as thinking I am high and mighty but when I did it was because I was angry due to hurt. But I never thought I am better than anyone.

  14. @human being on Wed, 7th Aug 2013 8:03 AM

    You don't understand the reason for linking into international databases.

    Does your little Maldivian database link into the criminal records bureau, does it link into the international arrest warrant database, does it give the immigration officer access to the systems that show when a traveller breaches immigration visa regulations in other countries?

    No! I thought not, but these larger international databases are linked into aviation, criminal and immigration records to know what type of scumbags you wish to prevent from landing in your country.

    Of course it may be that you are happy to have terrorists, rapist, murderers, paedophiles, conmen, drug dealers, fraudsters and illegal immigrants visiting the Maldives.

    Wake up if you expect to live in the international community and continue to want tourists to support your economy.

  15. We do not need any international assistance or parties to work with. We have every thing we need to maintain a high standard of livng and continue on our own. All I need is to be told what to do and go back to the mosque and pray for forgiveness of the sins I have yet to commit!!

    I will not dare to ask questions of the people at the top and for them to justify how they have so much and we have so little. No no, that is not allowed. I prefer to be bribed on the eve of every election and to be a short sighted selfish idiot.

    I am voting PPM.

  16. @human being on Wed, 7th Aug 2013 8:03 AM

    "One can manage a database for Maldives with a small microsoft access database."

    I see where you are coming from, vis-a-vis, the KISS principle (keep them simple and stupid). But in this case, I think the "stupid" has dominated the rest.

    According to my back-of-fag-packet calculation, we do get a lot more than a few hundred per day:

    (1) Around 1,000,000 tourists per year: ~2700 per day
    (2) Around 1800 Bangladeshis per month: ~ 260 per day

    So, excluding locals and the rest, that's already ~ 3000 per day. You MS Access will be smoking in its ears.

  17. @DMF
    Now that we have state of art databases, have we been able to apprehend any known or unknown rogue type of person you mentioned? no dho?

    For your info, Maldives is a very small country with no resources or population for the kind of people you mention to start their criminal enterprises. You can look at anybody in Maldives and say for sure this guy is a local or not. Maldives is very unique in that there are no other races or permanent residents of other nationalities. Foreigners can come only as guests or as workers.

    we have a runaway expatriate worker population because there are agents profiteering from importing them. Not necessarily because the country is short of labour.

    So that possibility to detect rogues is there. What is not there is the will to apprehend the criminals. So my argument stands, we don't need to throw huge amount of money on fancy bloatware;

  18. @Ahmed
    Actually Msaccess is a lot stronger than what you make it out to be.

  19. It would be more appropriate to describe Nexbis deal as a foreign contractor rather than a foreign investor, the whole deal was based on paying them for the service, rather than investing and getting a return profit.

    Nexbis deal was a very decision from the start, it would bleed Maldivian coffers where we have non, although I breach of contract isn't fair, unless there is a clause to terminate, pay them whats due to them and lets cut the loses, and get out in a neural rather than in a worse way.

    Such economic national decisions should be bipartisan, Maldivians deed to learn to think critically on matters.

  20. @human being on Wed, 7th Aug 2013 4:45 PM

    You are wrong on every aspect of your argument. In order to comply with international travel regulations your country must be able to provide airlines and international agencies concise data on the passengers that arrive and depart your borders.

    You don't know whether these visitors have criminal records before allowing them into the Maldives to disappear within the population. People can change their names on fake passports, but they cannot change their bio-metric data that is stored within their passport or on the databases that immigration services around the world update on a daily basis to track these individuals.

    From someone who has worked within immigration advising airlines and removing illegal overstays from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the UK I have some knowledge of what I am talking about. Where as I doubt you have even a small notion of the overall picture involved with immigration procedures, not just for the Maldives, but the rest of the world.

    The problem is unless the Maldives operates a recognised system airlines will not risk boarding passengers from the Maldives because they face massive fines from European, UK, US and other destination countries if they arrive with passengers with fraudulent documents, the fine is currently $4000 per passenger. Bang goes your tourism.

  21. The Nexbis are still lucky - they got 14 days vis-a-vis 7 that GMR got. Well what is the reason now? Malaysia is not a Hindu country, in fact they are also Muslims.

  22. The truth is this project most clean project ever seen in Tender Board.

    But Because of Immigration internal problem, and Adam Naseer and playboy Cyrix ibrahim Waheed just want to spoil sh ilyas and his team they went ACC and complain the project and went Media and written articles for one week to pressure sh ilyas and ACC.

    ACC is almost corrupt commission and Jangiyaa Nazim warn sh ilyas that these Immigration complain about project and media is clever write about articles and request for money, sh ilyas said he is not corrupt man and even Luthfee and Hilmy was asking money from this project like GMR,.

    There is 100 percent proof that Nazim had meet sh ilyas in Nazim house and request what he wants other wise will spoil all immigration and project with ACC.

    Jangiyaa Nazim was Tasty of Money he travel to Malaysia and asked to arrange meeting to Dato Zaki , but Dato zaki also told he is not corrupt person like Jangiyaa Nazim what ever ACC can do, do it ALLAH will know truth.

    after sh ilyas change Baaqee shahid help ACC to do fake documents and lot of fake things for ACC to use in media and Azima was behind ACC to organize all fake documents to submit to courts.

    AFter again sh ilyas change to Immigration Azima and Jameel and ACC hilmy and luthfee discuss if this project starts they will never get any thing and Jameel arrange how immigration name will be spoil with AG Azima and ACC these two tugs .

    Dhitv is Azima media propaganda with Jameel and these people is crazy with runnung behind this project because they have own interest..

    Did ever seen ACC with another project like Thilafushi ? This project ACC stops even Payments..

    ACC Corrupt


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