Nexbis sues Shahid, while reappointed former controller decides to continue Nexbis agreement

Department of Immigration and Emigration has decided to proceed with the stalled border control system contracted to Malaysia’s Nexbis Limited. Meanwhile, Nexbis has filed a lawsuit at the Civil Court seeking Rf 669 million (US$43 million) in damages from the former Immigration Controller Abdulla Shahid.

The first hearing of the case, scheduled for Wednesday, was cancelled.

According to the lawsuit, Nexbis alleged Shahid refused to proceed with the project despite court approval and spread false information regarding the agreement to the media, tarnishing Nexbis’ global reputation.

Nexbis claims that misleading media coverage adversely affected its global operations – the company suffered a drop in share prices when the Maldives Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) raised concerns of corruption, costing Nexbix AUD$39.9 million (Rf669 million).

Nexbis has now requested the court to recover the damages and the cost of its lawsuit from Shahid.

Speaking to Minivan News, Shahid refused to be held personally accountable to any decisions of the Immigration Department.

“I don’t have to take personal responsibility. When I was at Immigration I did hear about the case and had requested it to be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office,” Shahid observed.

The 20-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement to upgrade the Maldives’ border control security system, valuing US$39 million (Rf600 million), was signed with Nexbis by Shahid’s predecessor, Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim – who was reappointed to the post last week by President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, following the ousting of former president Mohamed Nasheed on February 7.

The day after the concessionaire contract was signed, ACC announced it had received “a serious complaint” regarding “technical details” of the bid, and issued an injunction pending an investigation into the agreement citing “instances and opportunities” where corruption may have occurred.

Nexbis shares immediately plunged 6.3 percent on the back of the ACC’s announcement. The company subsequently issued a statement claiming that speculation over corruption was “politically motivated” and had “wrought irreparable damage to Nexbis’ reputation and brand name.”

“Nexbis’ shareholders own and manage multi-trillion dollar assets globally and will not jeopardise their reputation for an investment return,” the company said at the time.

Claiming financial loss Nexbis subsequently threatened legal action over the stalled border agreement, prompting the cabinet to resume the project after reviewing the existing agreement with Nexbis to address the concerns raised by the department.

In December 2011, the ACC forwarded a corruption case against Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim, then head of the Center for Disaster Management, and Director General of the Finance Ministry Saamee Ageel to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PG). The ACC claimed the pair had abused their authority for undue financial gain in the Nexbis deal.

Meanwhile, the ACC requested the project be re-tendered with the consent of the cabinet. However, the cabinet decided to continue the project with Nexbis after revising the agreement.

ACC attempted gain a legal injunction against the move, but failed as the civil court ruled in January 2012 that ACC cannot order to terminate the Nexbis agreement.

Speaking to Minivan News today Immigration Controller Ibrahim confirmed that the department will continue the border control project as there is no “legal obstruction”.

“I have decided to continue all the works including the border control system project, as there is no legal obstruction,” Ilyas observed.

Ilyas had steadily disputed the claims of corruption and insisted that the project was awarded to Nexbis through a transparent international bidding process.

However, in earlier interviews with Minivan News, Shahid expressed concern over both the cost and necessity of the project, calculating that as tourist arrivals continue to grow Nexbis would earn US$200 million in revenue over the project’s 20-year lifespan.

Comparing Nexbis’ earnings to the government’s estimated revenue of US$10 million, Shahid suggested the government instead maximize its income by operating a system given by a donor country.

“Border control is not something we are unable to comprehend – it is a normal thing all over the world,” Shahid told Minivan News at the time. “There is no stated cost of the equipment Nexbis is installing – we don’t know how much it is costing to install, only how much we have to pay. We need to get everything out in the open.”


10 thoughts on “Nexbis sues Shahid, while reappointed former controller decides to continue Nexbis agreement”

  1. US$200 million over 20 years is certainly a lot of money for such a project. It's probably calculated on the basis of a unit cost per passenger using the airport. With around 2 million passengers per year, they can keep the unit cost at around $5 per head and generate that kind of revenue.

    Does the Maldives need an immigration systems that costs US$10 million per annum to run? I certainly do not think so. Our main issue related to immigration is the uncontrolled influx of unskilled labourers from neighbouring countries.

    That can be sorted with the very lowest of technology, i.e. stop issuing work permits and visas for them! Even with the smartest border control system in the world, if there's no systematic way to handle those labourers once they are inside the country, then the whole exercise will be pointless waste of money.

  2. This reversal of decision on the part of the government smells of large scale corruption. Ilyas Ibrahim is Dr. Waheeds brother-in-law. Does this mean this deal will have undue gains for Waheeds party at the expense of Maldivian money.

  3. So now Ilyas got back the opportunity to recover his cut from the deal. This is daylight robbery. Should never allow this deal to go!!!

  4. This is gonna ruin our Tourism industry, have a care while milking the cow.

    Corruption Dr.Waheed, and yet you harp on about the corruption of the previous government.

    Now there is not only the matter of illegality, but reversing a decision to re implement a corrupt business that would potentially harm the Tourism industry, and lo and behold the whole deal is connected to your family as well.

  5. A whiff of corruption now hangs over Dr Waheed. After all, Ilyas is his relative.

  6. There certainly is a lot of Malaysian influence over the whole regime now. It's not just Nexbis. There was an anonymous Malaysian present in a formal interview that Waheed had with foreign media!

    Someone needs to immediately address the Malaysian connection. I don't think these are coincidences, my friends.

  7. Minivan News never cover about the truth about the project and about Controller Shahid Leak documents in Rajjemiadhu, Its clear mention Controller Abdulla Shahid and ACC Muawiz is had done a deal to give the project without tender to the some companies that loose in the Bid,

    Even Shahid does not have right to communicate any parties that were loose, that means a courrption , but to investigate the courrption is Shahid best freind ACC Muawiz, which he was backup by some Company

  8. KOBAA THA BAAQHEE SHAHID, Last Jan 2012 Baaqhee went Dubai and he was talking with Israel companies to invest in Maldives, and in the mean time Shell Company from Nigeria also had met him, BAAQHEE SHAHID is looking for own investment in the name of Maldives Government which my friend also met with Baaqhee shahid and he request he is very close with Anti C, no Problem? What means No problem for him?? Did Anti C can answer that question for public.. and in the mean we had seen a seceret meetings with Minivan News reporter a Girl near Baaqhee Shahid home, did She goes for what??

  9. This thing was stinking from day one.

    "Nexbis has now requested the court to recover the damages and the cost of its lawsuit from Shahid."


  10. Ridiculous! Parties to contract take risks and responsibility! Not individuals!


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