US to provide Maldives with cost-free border control system

The US government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Maldives government to provide it with a border system after several years of uncertainty and legal wrangling over the future of the country’s immigration controls.

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 new border system, according to local media. The system is scheduled to be installed by June this year.

Speaking to Minivan News , Immigration Controller Dr Mohamed Ali said it was too early to tell if the new border controls would be a direct replacement for the system provided by Malaysia-based IT group Nexbis.  Nexbis is currently awaiting a decision by higher courts in the Maldives over whether anti-corruption authorities have the right to terminate its agreement with the government.

“We will have to see [what the agreement means for the government’s concession agreement with Nexbis]. Details need to be worked out,” stated Dr Ali, who did not elaborate further.

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.

The Nexbis border control system is still presently in use by immigration officials at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), after the Supreme Court issued an injunction halting the scrapping of the controversial system by parliament.

Cost-free system

Defence Minister Nazim said 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.

Local media reported that the border controls would be based around its 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.

Prior to the announcement of the MOU, former Immigration Controller and now State Defence Minister Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim was quoted in local media as raising concerns that US involvement in the border control system would allow the country to exert its influence on Maldivian affairs.

Ilyas told the Channel News Maldives publication that the system would serve to provide a “door for American influence” by allowing the US to take control of the system and use it to locate foreign nationals whenever it wished.

When contacted by Minivan News today, Ilyas said he did not have any comments on the matter as he was no longer involved with the immigration department, and requested any questions be forwarded to Defence Minister Nazim.

However, Nazim asked that any questions regarding the system be sent to him by email. Minivan News was awaiting a response at time of press.

Earlier this month, outgoing Indian High Commissioner Dnyaneshwar Mulay formally handed over a new Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) to immigration authorities at INIA that was designed to provide passport information and other details of incoming travellers before their arrival.

The system was not intended to be a direct replacement for the existing border control system provided by Nexbis, authorities said at the time.


Nexbis is currently involved in legal wrangling over whether the Maldives’ Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has the power to compulsorily request the government to cease all work in relation to the border control system agreement.

While refuting allegations of any corruption or wrongdoing in being awarded a contract under the previous government to install and operate a border control system for the Maldives, Nexbis earlier this year said it would not rule out criminal involvement behind attempts to “sabotage” its contract with the government.

However, a source with knowledge of current immigration practices had previously said no alternative border control system was available should the government terminate its concession agreement with Nexbis.

“So far we don’t have any alternative to the [Nexbis] system going forward. We are using the system and waiting for the courts to decide. However, if the court decides [in favour of the ACC], we will need a new system in place,” the source told Minivan News. “Without [an alternative], the system would go haywire. A replacement would have to be found. We cannot go back to the 1970s and just use books and paper.”

Minivan News was awaiting a response on the MOU from Nexbis’ local legal representatives at time of press.

Human trafficking

The MOU has been signed at a time when the Maldives has come under increasing scrutiny regarding its immigration control.

The country has appeared on the US State Department’s Tier Two Watch List for Human Trafficking for three years in a row.

Back in January this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs inaugurated an initiative aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking issues in the Maldives.

Despite these commitments, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has accused state and private sector employers in the country of lacking consistency in their efforts to address human trafficking, preventing “real” change in controlling illegal migration.


14 thoughts on “US to provide Maldives with cost-free border control system”

  1. So US helps a coup government ?
    What's MDPs explanation.
    Was Obama behind the coup after all

  2. We will sabotage this system (internally). The Chinese will be given control over it, with us sitting next to them. The American's seek peace (insidious peace), this is their move. The tiny Maldives is precious to both, not to any one entity.

    The alternate explanation is of course, that this is close bilateral collaboration between two countries, the developed assisting the developing (good intentions both ways, yada yada).. but that's just half-the-story aiight..

    We will reciprocate by offering the assurance, here, that Wahhabism [Salafi-sm] we will destroy. That is the agreement (undisclosed)- disclosed here now.

    The Gasim is actually in charge-of-border control aspects. The rest have no objection. We will use it, small fry like us have little other options in this big ass ocean, than to settle for charity- yet we will keep our ways safe. We must.

    It is funny how the actual events that conspired, and the critical details always escape media. This is the intention, yes.. This way the poor folk of this country sleep sound, and safe.

  3. America is loyal only to itself- it serves only it's interests. Therefore we will learn from them. We will also be loyal only to ourselves, our interests.

    In this case Border Control is in our interests. So we humbly accept this assistance.

    The day of the dog will however come , later [:)]

  4. The US is the largest single donor of aid in the world. If there are droughts, floods, earthquakes etc etc, it is USAID that is there by giving food, blanket, tents, etc. to the red cross, medecins sans frontieres etc.

    We should not underestimate the help this disliked country gives the world.

    There will be win for both countries with this border control system though. It will enable them to monitor more easily who travels in and out of Maldives and where they are travelling too and from (Pakistan) without too much paper investigation.

    Which could be a bad thing if your a Jihadi.

  5. with maldives turning into a fundamentalist Islamic country and also human trafficing specialist, obviously US wants to be able to instantaneouly see who is crossing broders. From now on expect more Maldivians to be picked up by the long arm of the Law'

  6. 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.

  7. I really don't think the US considers the Maldives as "precious" or in any way important to US interests. I love the overestimation of relevance this country gives itself. Of course the US will benefit by keeping an eye on the fundamentalist kooks coming in/out of paradise. But I doubt the US made any remarks or conditions regarding the Wahabi influence in Maldives. The US doesn't seem to have a problem doing business with the whack jobs in Saudi Arabia. And I'm pretty sure that relationship is just a bit more important to US interests.

  8. This is an enticement tactic. The assistance is substantial, and the timing is equally interesting (though not unexpected). There is great mystery behind this sudden move. The actual reason's and expectations behind this may never be known to the rest of us. Sometimes we may have to accept there may be things we don't know also.

    This particular example shows how the present government appears to be making headway, indifferent to the political sabotage all around it. The whole thing reeks of political opportunism. I wonder what the rebel group MDP makes of this, the United States in collusion with a Coup Government? What will they rant against this I wonder..

    And this notion that America is the great helper is such a lovely story. America takes more from the world, than it gives to the world. And it is not the USA, but the European Union which is the biggest Aid Donor today, as far as I know. We live in a world where it has become necessary to integrate, assimilate, accommodate everyone- and yet the greater geo-political game is always at play everywhere.

  9. USA had to help out Maldives given it is slowly becoming hot-bed of right-wing Islamist and USA wants to keep track of their movement. But it just shows how much Maldives is reliant on countries it boasts to hate and accuses of internal interference.

  10. 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." (

    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.

  11. Either way, the traitors have no option left, but to take it even though it may not be useful for the purpose it is installed for!

    With a chocolate coat, the mass who do not know what a border control system is, are fooled!

    Traitors can boast that they have done something and are in the good books of the US!

    But the fact remains that without the Nexbiz offered control system in place, and this system not being useful for what it is really wanted, we are still in the same deep shit we were in, eh!

  12. 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.


Comments are closed.