Malaysian mobile security firm Nexbis has said it has not been consulted or provided any details regarding a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed Thursday (March 28) by the US government, to provide a border control system to the Maldives.
Representatives for the Malaysian company said it was uncertain what the MOU would mean for the group’s own border control technology that has been in use since September 2012, as part of a troubled concession agreement with the Maldives government.
Nexbis signed a “legally binding” deal in 2010 to provide a customised border control system under a ‘build, operate and transfer’ agreement to Maldivian authorities that still remains in use at present. The deal is presently the subject of legal wrangling over whether the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has the power to demand termination of the contract. Parliament has also voted to cancel the system, but this is subject to a court injunction.
Earlier this week, Immigration Controller Dr Mohamed Ali said it was too early to tell if the new border controls being provided for free by the US would be a direct replacement for the system provided by Nexbis.
Lawyers representing the Malaysian firm have told Minivan News that official enquiries had now been sent to the Department of Immigration and Emigration and the Maldives Ministry of Defence, while attempts were also being made to contact the government over where their agreement now stood.
“We do remain confident that the Maldivian government will honour its obligations under the 2010 concession agreement,” read a statement from lawyers representing the company.
“We are confident also of the support we have received by the Immigration Department in implementing and fully operating the system, but remain cautious of individuals that continue to pose obstacles to prevent the success of this project is stemming the national security issues faced by the Maldives today.”
The border control system project contract was awarded to Nexbis for a period of 22 years by the previous government, however, parliament voted unanimously to terminate the agreement in December 2012 over allegations of “foul play”.
Nexbis has refuted allegations of corruption, later seeking a legal injunction in the country to prevent any cancellation of the agreement while court hearings over the contract were still ongoing.
Under the concession agreement, Nexbis’ lawyers said the company continues to work with the Maldives government and immigration department to personalise the system and its various components. The company claimed the developments were a result of its own investment in the project, with the implementation taking place at no direct cost to the government.
Under the agreement, Nexbis agreed to levy a fee of US$2 from arriving and departing passengers in exchange for installing, maintaining and upgrading its immigration system, and a fee of US$15 for every work permit card issued.
Lawyers for the company added that it planned to continue working with state officials on developing the system going forward.
“There are more features and functionality of the system that will progressively be rolled out by the Department of Immigration for nationwide enforcement, foreign worker management and automation as well as further enhancements to security that will aid the government to address human trafficking issues and illegal foreign workers,” read a statement from Nexbis representatives.
Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Michele J Sison signed an MOU that will see a US technical team coming to the country next month to begin work on planning and implementing a border system, according to local media. The system is scheduled to be installed by June this year.
Defence Minister Nazim said during the signing that the system proposed under the MOU would be provided free of charge to the Maldives in a move he estimated would save the country MVR500 million (US$35 million), according to Sun Online.
Minivan News was awaiting a response from Nazim at time of press.
Local media reported that the border controls would be based around the US Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES). The same technology is reported to be used not only at US airports, but in a number of other countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Thailand.
Maldivian staff are also expected to receive training on using the biometric-based system, as well as assistance with any expansion to the system in future, Sun Online has reported.
Immigration sources had told Minivan News earlier this month that the country faced a potential return to “pen and paper” border controls should the government be made to cancel its agreement with Nexbis without an adequate replacement.
Nexbis has meanwhile refuted allegations of any corruption or wrong-doing in the awarding of the contract, and said it would not rule out criminal involvement behind attempts to “sabotage” the deal.
7 thoughts on “Nexbis not consulted over US border control deal”
Why, do you want to offer advise on how the American State Department can make a few hundred million dollars corrupt money?
Ah, poor Maldives; nothing more than a pawn of large international corporations, no thanks to Waheed's imbecility.
Nexbis or Immigration Project was a great Project and even any party wins but Politicians and ACC 24hrs day and night without sleep and even like Attack force so many operation they stop the project because of political influence from Anti Corruption Commission and even Deputy Speaker Parliament called former controller and told about ACC was under his control and even to give bribe other wise it will stop from Majlis and from ACC and even he invite former controller visit to his home with ACC President and Hilmy and tried to convince how much they need to have close relation with Nexbis company.
ACC Hilmy met Immigration techinical team but Hilmy could not talk what he wants since Techinical Team explain about the political stop and how the project was....
It was great Project from Immigration and even ACC used media and AG Azima use Defense Minister Nazim Home MInister Jameel and even ACC Control person Majlis speaker Nazim to stop and they use NCIT to tell fake stories and even NCIT on line system now already failed and even so many Maldivian companies bankrupt because of construction agreement they cannot bring labour... Immigration is almost fail and thanks to ACC and Politicians who fail immigration Bravo....
US system does not have the important modules of Immigration requirements and even we gave advice to President office 12 module only 4 or 3 modules have that also we don’t think will help our economy for enforcement module and Visa module and Mobile modules but Minister Nazim and Police Riyaz refused and pushed against immigration to sign the US system and even Police Commissioner Riyaz and Tourism Minister front line of immigration which i thought they are representative of immigration. Any way immigration nerver support and it is tracking system for Israel and US and since Defense Minister cant even sign in the name of immigration if AG Azima give advice also. Azima is one side woman given lot of damage to Immigration with Jameel.
PRESIDENT office will know Technical of this projects even so many countries suffer and used in War Areas and Muslim extreme monitor movements by APIS system and Maldives move back ward now….
Thank you Defense Minister Nazim Police Riyaz and Adeeb and Azima for to become technical guys of immigration and thanks for ACC which now we got notting bec of them.
The ignorati are once again congratulating the disgraced ex-Colonel and his partner in crime Mr Riyaz.
PISCES is a system initiated by the United States State Department to combat terrorism!
“The PISCES-program falls under “The Terrorist Interdiction Program” (TIP), an ongoing program of the United States Department of State. TIP provides all necessary software and hardware (mostly commercial and off-the-shelf, such as cameras and passport scanners), full installation, operator training.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PISCES)
I can design and install a similar system with off-the-shelf components and software for free too. What’s the US gaining from this? They are not doing this out of the goodness of their heart or due to the “hard” work of ex-Colonel Nazim or Mr Riyaz.
The US has deep vested interests in keeping a close eye on global terrorism. Maldives is increasingly showing up on the global radar of dangerous states. The end result is PISCES! As others have noted, this is not the best system for immigration or border control. Not by far!
But hey, the unwashed masses have been fooled into thinking that the traitors have done something.
i see that Nasheed and his supporter having difficult time in digesting things that are getting unfolded in the Maldives.
Nasheed thought the international community is doing things for ” Nasheed” and not for the country. Nasheed thinks that he the most superior human being in Maldives and everyone else is lowe human race and they all need to believe an follow him.
The real traitor is Nasheed and this idiot was about to sell our sovereign rights to India and the idiot will sell the rights if ever he be able to have a power in the government again.
The Maldivian passport was made "machine readable" way back in the late 1990's. However. There was never any scanner at the immigration counters. Even last year "paper & pen" were used to write the details. Maldives do not have any land border and the only point of entry is MLE APT. All officers are corrupt otherwise there would not be over 50,000 illegal expats inside the country. There are more than a 100 local IT kids who are more than capable of compiling an adequate control system that can control the passenger movements at MLE Airport, even a simple Excel/Access database would be sufficient. The whole problem was due to the fact that Nasheed nominated an almost bankrupt businessman (Nazaki Zaki)as our High Commissioner to Malaysia. Obviously he will work to get business deals done rather than doing any diplomatic work. Now most of the time he is in male' running Waheed's GIP after dumping all the work at the mission to his deputy. Waheed's brother in law is also involved in this $500m deal.
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