Nexbis to seek legal redress for “irreparable damage to reputation and brand name”

Mobile security solutions vendor Nexbis has announced it will be taking legal action against parties in the Maldives, claiming that speculation over corruption was “politically motivated” in nature and had “wrought irreparable damage to Nexbis’ reputation and brand name.”

“Although we understand that the recent media frenzy and speculation of corruption are politically motivated in nature and not directly related to Nexbis, it has had an indirect impact on our reputation and brand name,” the company said in a statement provided to Minivan News.

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

The Malaysian-based technology firm signed a concessionaire contract with the Department of Immigration in October 2010, to install an advanced border control system that is had said would collect and store biometric data on expatriate workers and eliminate abuse of (easily forged) paper documentation.

The government has struggled to tackle the problem of foreign worker exploitation. There are believed to be 100,000 foreign workers in the country – almost a third of the country’s total population – but no data is available on how many are illegal.

International agencies have taken a dim view of the problem, most notably the US State Department, which last year placed the Maldives on its tier two watch-list for human trafficking. Minivan News reported in August 2010 that the exploitation of Bangladeshi workers alone was an industry was worth at least US$43.8 million a year, rivaling fishing as a source of foreign exchange.

Following the signing ceremony with Nexbis, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) announced it had received “a serious complaint” regarding “technical details” of the bid, and issued an injunction pending an investigation into the agreement.

“On the very day we signed the contract, barely hours, maybe minutes later, the ACC had drafted a letter saying there were suspicions of corruption involved with the decision,” Minivan News was told by an Immigration Department source, who asked not to be identified.

Nexbis shares immediately dropped 6.3 percent on the back of the ACC’s announcement.

Last week, facing political pressure ahead of the local council elections, President Mohamed Nasheed upheld the ACC’s request that the roll-out of the technology be postponed.

The ‘stop-work’ order amounts to an indefinite hold on the project, with little optimism for a quick outcome. The ACC has not completed an investigation since 2008.

In its statement, Nexbis noted that the system and related technologies to be installed in the Maldives “have been implemented in over 100 locations worldwide including the Americas, Europe and Asia and comply with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and other international standards.

“Nexbis is an international company with strict internal policies that conform to International Anti-Corruption laws and strictly enforce the policy. All Nexbis staff have strict government security clearance to carry out national security projects.”

The company stated that it was invited along with other Malaysian companies to invest in the Maldives during a government road show, and was shortlisted for the Immigration Border Control System (MIBCS) tender after making an expression of interest in February 2010, together with several other companies.

“Subsequent to that, Nexbis together with the other shortlisted companies were invited to respond to the RFP (request for proposal),” the company stated. “Nexbis followed the strict and transparent submission and evaluation process requirement of the government of Maldives and emerged as the successful bidder for the project in a public opening of the bid together with all the other bidders.”

Those bidders, Nexbis said, were informed that they would be subject to both a technical evaluation by the Immigration Department and an independent financial evaluation by both the Ministry of Finance and the Tender Board.

“The contract negotiations involved lawyers from the Attorney General’s office, Immigration, as well as the Ministry of Finance prior to a unanimous conclusion by all parties and final sign off by the Attorney General’s office of the Government of Maldives,” Nexbis stated.

On October 17, 2010, Nexbis signed a concession agreement with the Department of Immigration to implement an Immigration Border Control System (MIBCS) under a BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) arrangement. This allowed the system to be installed at no upfront cost to the government, while Nexbis would levy a fee on work visas issued over the lifespan of the agreement.

The concessionaire contract, Nexbis noted, “is legally binding and Nexbis will exhaust all avenues to ensure that its interest is protected in this matter.”

“Nexbis’ international lawyers have been building a libel and defamation case since the media frenzy to enable legal proceedings against certain individuals and institutions that have wrought irreparable damage to Nexbis’ reputation and brand name,” the company stated.

“In addition, we will be suing for compensation for collateral and consequential damages that arise as a result of direct or indirect implied allegations by individuals or institutions. We have gathered significant and indisputable information to mount a successful case and will be taking action.”

Mohamed Zuhair, Press Secretary for President Mohamed Nasheed, said “I agree that this is a negative development, and that Nexbis should consider going to court seeking redress [for the] delays.”

“The ACC has only said that there were ‘instances and opportunities’ where corruption could have occurred, but said they were not sure if it did happen and issued an injunction.”

The President, Zuhair emphasised, had “simply stated that he will cooperate with the ACC”, and “has not insinuated that corruption is involved [in the Nexbis deal].”

He added that the country’s independent institutions – and its judiciary – had been formed during an opposition majority.

“For all the government’s good intentions, the independent institutions have yet to do anything to accelerate the government’s efforts to provide prosperity for the public,” he claimed.

Zuhair pressed for patience, noting that “it is difficult for the government at the timebeing, during local council elections. These are problems not unique to the Maldives, and foreign investors should take heart in the democratic process we have brought in. On a good day, the ACC is in favour of foreign investment.”

He acknowledged the scope of the problem that the agreement was intended to address.

“Expatriate workers get hit twice – they pay agents in the country of origin, then come and pay an agent here, or even the employer. It is illegal and it has been going on for 30 years – there is now an ingrained culture [in the Maldives] of taking advantage of the hiring of expatriate workers to make money from them.”

“I am confident justice will prevail,” he added.

Minister of Economic Development Mahmoud Razee acknowledged that the situation with Nexbis was “unwelcome”, but said the Ministry “believes investors conduct due diligence on political risks in an emerging democracy with a lot of fluidity.”

“The government of the Maldives will continue to promote democracy and stabilise the economy to attract investors,” he said.

Nexbis appeared less convinced, and warned of potential ramifications to foreign investment in the Maldives should investors become collateral damage in local politicking.

“The ultimate collateral damage will be to the Maldivian public in the long term as international investors will shy away from the country unless commitments made are honored,” the company said.

“A single default in the government’s commitment will have a long and lasting effect including a significant re-rating of the investment risk of the country.”

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was not returning calls despite numerous attempts over several days.


30 thoughts on “Nexbis to seek legal redress for “irreparable damage to reputation and brand name””

  1. One major problem is that the government is just not being transparent enough when it awards these projects.

    Everyone knows how things were done 5 years ago, and many people think that the same levels of corruption & cronyism are continuing nowadays. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn't. I like to hope things are a lot better these days, but who really knows ?

    To show that things have really changed in "anne dhivehi raajje", the current system must be fully open & transparent, to an unprecedented degree. Only then will people start to trust in the government.

  2. Walk through all the parks and green spaces of Male'. I am sure the government can collect planes full of illegal foreigners from there. Why do they need Nexbis or whatever for this job.

  3. It is not Nexbis, that is being alleged to be corrupt but the Maldivians involved in this fiasco. Why did Nazaki, Zaki get involved in the process and why did Illyas go only to Malaysia and visit Nexbis?
    These are some of the problems.

    It is best that a new tender is called for this process and also remove Illyas from Immigration.

  4. If there was no corruption then why was a purchase order raised to MegaChip (The Yellow Company) for over 30 high end servers and 500 desktop systems months before the project was awarded to Nexbis..

    This shows that Nexbis had a 100% guarantee that no one else will win the project.. How can an international, Anti Corruption law compliant "global" organization issue a PO to local supplier way before award..

  5. Actually this Malaysian company, knows that the ACC probe will result in their disqualification so they are going for Option B. A hefty compensation to line all the pockets concerned.

  6. Foreign workers are being exploited and it is horrifying. Maldives must stay under scrutiny till the abuse is over.

    When such problems arise, it is an indication of a lack of clear procedures. The bidding regulation ahs lot of loop holes that allow for corruption and even if they are written well, officials who implement those procedures do what they feel fit. At the same time we have oppositions who simply want to undermine anything that the Government is doing. We do need control mechanism to stop the abuse.

    Collecting and sending foreign workers back only victimizes them even further. We have to acknowledge that we bring them here because we need their work. Then they should be treated well and fairly. Any thing that is a step towards stopping abuse is a good step.

    Nexbis has all the right to pursue justice. The opposition will laugh in the face of the Government because all they want is to hassle the Government and make sure it fails.

  7. Even Apple is not a multi trillion dollar company yet.. How can Nexbis, who has not yet completed any succesful implementation of the border system (their claimed flagship product) become a multi trillion dollar company..

    This whole this is a Big con game...

  8. "Mohamed Zuhair, Press Secretary for President Mohamed Nasheed, said “I agree that this is a negative development, and that Nexbis should consider going to court seeking redress [for the] delays.”"

    I can't believe the Press Secretary is saying this.
    If Nexbis goes to court, and wins their case, who will pay compensation?

  9. Press Secretary Zuhair is a smartie..A real roadie, tens of years working for Mr. Abbas and his Aafathis daily...Meaning he knows a developing story and how and where to hit it! He is calling (Nexbiz)their bluff..

  10. Adam Naseer and Green Waheed working to cancel the bid to favour their companies, if BOT means with out tender process they can give the deal with in Immigration.. DRP Green Waheed

  11. Just i understand everything was done by Finance Ministry and even the Bid process was good, only immigration role is corrupt, which we cant understand, we heard two senior Officers from Immigration had complain before ACC inform but now it was just a local person. As a Maldivian the Report from ACC never mention about corruption and which was investigate out of Mandates of ACC my point of view,

    I think ACC is having some corruption because the way the report which Immigration news conference highlight ACC never meet immigration Technical Team which was met only with Adam which he was not involve in this project and he came to office after the bid process Finnish and this is the weakness of ACC investigation team.

    ACC Investigation team don’t have right to investigate like police or court case they must investigate for corruption which the President and Vice president had already corrupt.
    We heard it was involve PA involvement for ACC president to spoil this project and ACC Vice President for immigration Adam Naseer involvement.

    The MDP will fail

  12. Of course there are problems with the Nexbis bid. Their security system is going to seriously disrupt the profits we are making from selling people.

    The height of ACC’s anti-corruption activity so far has been to recruit Sheikh Fareed to warn people that taking bribes is a one-way ticket to Hell.

    It is one thing to have blind faith in a supreme being; it is quite another to place our trust in an investigative body that thinks all case files would be best closed on Judgement Day.

    Nexbis won’t get much joy from our judiciary. The last stop to justice here is the JSC – a complete dead end.

    I hope by ‘exploring all avenues’ Nexbis means it will fight beyond the JSC and beyond the Maldives.

    An international court of law might just crack this thing open finally, and allow us to get rid of those who are bringing us all down to serve their own greed.

  13. This whole story is absurd. ACC said their is "room for corruption" and did not say Nexbis is "involved" in corruption. and I do not think that their is any room for compensation on such grounds. Now this whole story is making me more suspicious! What is there is "room for corruption" in courts? Some people "can" pocket a fortune. It's about time Minivan bring more serious stories than defending a department, which every one know is not performing due to lack of transparency, consultancy, and lack of able leadership.

  14. Who is NEXBIS...

  15. Nexbis is a leading expert in development of applications for Governments, specializing in the areas of National Security, Identity Verification and Document Authentication. In addition to having worked closely with Governments, Nexbis also provides IT expertise ranging from National Security Advisory Service to System Integration and Implementation by leveraging on its experience. Nexbis combines this with the professional delivery approach befitting of the fast-growing Asian IT marketplace.

    A government-vetted company, Nexbis has established itself with innovative research, cutting-edge technologies and active participation in ICT development, culminating in Nexbis being awarded with Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia Pioneer status in year 2007 as well as the “Best of Security” in Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) 2008.

    Nexbis (M) is the inventor and owner of the only forensic-level (L3S) mobile security solution in the world – the Nexbis National Security Suite, also known as NexCode™. With patents filed in 140 countries worldwide, NexCode™ is a proprietary solution that is able to provide real-time information access capabilities, total assurance of information integrity and privacy through the use of the highly secure NexCode™ system architecture.

    Only company in Asia forensic-level (L3S) mobile security solution ..

  16. I wonder if the Secure Identity Document they plan to sell to everyone (keeping 80% of the profit), will turn out to be a piece of normal paper with a barcode printed on it.

    Nexbis' main patent:

    Sounds like you could subvert it with a printer/scanner.

  17. The truth is the project was awarded to the company that had no connection to a Maldivian. The other companies did have connections even travelled to destinations on their expense. We may have to face an embarassing/expensive situation by talking about foreign companies.

  18. Oh come on NEXBIS you know well, what you are doing and now this is another ploy to divert the whole issue. You will not get even cent from this law suite. You Malaysian owe us so much, like you guys destroy our national Airline also like this type of corruption before.

  19. Adam Naseer Informatics waiting for this Bid again,, But sri lankan company can depend for security Green Waheed is fighting for Irish.

    Green Waheed the great person still never handle any project in immigration even epassport trophy also given by previous the way the promotion and position ha ha ha ha

    Waheed better you learn something..

  20. Green Waheed already mention that epassport Trophy was given by Previous President Maumoon for the hard work he did, but we heard he had not a single job and task was handle in that project and even he got promotion and course from shafiu lucky person now came and destroying the immigration with Adam Naseer for the power, he had never experience in immigration field even Airport, Visa and Harbour... such a poor guy which fighting for only person who knew everything....
    OOPs..... Ilyas out Green Waheed & Adam Power 2 Destroy immigration.

  21. ACC should get their act together. They start some investigations but never finish them with solid evidence. From what I see here, maybe ACC should look at these single people like Adam Naseer or Green Waheed and investigate what they are doing and why they are doing it and who they are doing it for. Don’t let one or two people distroy everything for their own selfish greedy and corrupt plans. They are the real danger to everything.

  22. I read nexbis statement about trillion dollar and cannot believe it…. Not even microsift or apple… so cannot be for nexbis…. but i read it again, they say their shareholders owns and manage multi trillion dollar assets… not saying its themselves that are so big, its their shareholders. They didnt say they own trillion dollar. I looked around the internet and there are a few funds companies that have trillion dollar assets investing in many big companies around the world….. maybe they are nexbis shareholders. I think listed companies never make statements if they cannot support it… maybe we must read more carefully because looks like they are serious. I feel very bad for them and for us…. Looks like very shameful for Maldives when everywhere in the world can see how terrible is the politics and business situation is in this country…. How can the government bring in international business if it always become like this???

  23. This whole acc thing is a joke and making us maldivians look like corrupt people. they cannot find officials corrupt so they then try to say it may be corrupt. why they dont investigate the 2 people with links to sri lanka who try to get this project cancelled. we need good international companies to come in and not just depend on small corrupt companies from sri lanka. i hope immigration department will put in new nexbis system quickly.

  24. Well Johann the CEO is bascially just a puppet. The great man behind the whole company is Mr. Chua i think. Keep a close look at him.

    Typical of a Malaysian company where usually the CEO just sits there as a puppet and being directed to move. Supported many government services and elections.

    Watch out for the next big guy if you guys wanted to invest in this company. The directors are already in the plan to oust Johann.

    If the next big man is heading the right direction the company will go back up. But a word of caution, I heard at the same time that MACC is now currently investigating a few of them, yes including Chua i believe. Internal information though. Can't validate it.

  25. Seriously?? Well I just sold of most of my Nexbis stocks. ALthough it is just rumored but I had pretty solid ones that the management are fighting among themselves for power. Johann was labelled behind often as a betrayer. His lack of intelligence isn't something I will have confidence in. So many rumors that the directors, presidents, etc are trying to topple him and take over his position. I wonder if he actually knows or hear anything about it. If he doesn't, then I am happy I throw away my stocks. Cause it's obvious it's going down. Lifespan I think, they're probably left with a year or two to the most. Or at least the current CEO is left with that amount of tenure.

  26. mohn rasheed on Mon, 7th Feb 2011 11:23 AM

    This whole acc thing is a joke and making us maldivians look like corrupt people. they cannot find officials corrupt so they then try to say it may be corrupt. why they dont investigate the 2 people with links to sri lanka who try to get this project cancelled. we need good international companies to come in and not just depend on small corrupt companies from sri lanka. i hope immigration department will put in new nexbis system quickly.

    My 2 cent:

    Look at Dubai & Singapore. As long as the project is good for the people, they will do it! Development comes with firm decision from the top.

    Rumors can really kill a company's brand. Even though if it is all made up. The damage has already been done. Which competitors won't like to see Nexbis fall to the ground?

    Who ever is in business will understand this statement.

  27. Guys,

    Do not act or being stupid. Stop being a stupid clown Maldivian.

    Nexbis CEO is Johann and Chua is originally his worker. There is no topple or any move by Chua to becoming CEO.

    Nexbis share holder is one of the biggest firm which manage trillions of fund world wide.

    I am from Sri Lanka and I knew that one of Sri Lankan company participated in the tender. I knew that even the tender is not closing yet, there is people in Maldives Immigration received Mac and Iphone. (senior position).

    From my trusted source, Sri Lankan company put the lowest amount of investment throughout the 20 years. Do you want this company to supply the technology to the Maldives government?

    Nexbis been chosen because the total investment amount is reasonable; not too high and not too low.

    I hope that Nexbis will take legal action to the people who deserved to be kicked out from Maldives.

    I believe that any Malaysian company can do better than our Sri Lankan company.


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