Controller of Immigration Ilyas transferred to Defence Ministry

Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim has been replaced as the Controller of Immigration and Emigration by Dr Mohamed Ali, who has been serving as Chief of Staff at the President’s Office.

Ilyas was on Thursday appointed as Minister of State for Defense and National Security.

Ilyas is currently under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in relation to the awarding of the contract for a new border control system to the Malaysian firm Nexbis. The ACC told Minivan News that the case has been forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s (PG) office.

The Nexbis case intensified this week as ACC officials raided the offices of the Immigration Department, eventually seizing laptops after alleged obstruction by department staff.

Former Immigration Controller Abdullah Shahid again voiced his disapproval of the project on Thursday.  Shahid, who served between Ilyas’s two stints as controller, has been a long-time critic of the deal.

Shahid questioned the expense of the project, alleging that a free system could have been acquired with assistance from the Indian government, according to local newspaper Haveeru.

“A group of Indian experts had come to the Maldives and conducted and completed their surveys in a month’s time. If I was controller today everything would have been installed by now. Let me tell you something. Those experts from India would not even have to be given a cup of coffee on the expense of the Maldivian government,” Shahid told Haveeru.

It emerged last week that the first of three phases in implementing the Nexbis project had been completed, despite repeated delays pending court rulings.

However, Shahid insisted that no work had been carried out during his time as controller.


Immigration department receives complaints of foreigners selling local produce

The Department of Immigration is receiving complaints from the public of foreigners selling local produce brought to Male’ from the atolls.

Controller of Immigration Ilyas Hussein told Voice of Maldives that owners of stalls at the local market had requested the deportation of illegal migrant workers in the market area.

Ilyas said local businesses have been informed not to employ foreigners without valid work visas.

Meanwhile, the Human Resources Ministry has launched a joint operation with police to identify illegal immigrants in the atolls, reports Haveeru.

Deputy Minister Hussein said the ministry was collecting information from island offices and confiscating passports, which will be sent to the Department of Immigration.

The deportation process will be handled by the department using deposit funds, he said, adding that the ministry received a list of about 30 people last week from Laamu and Seenu atolls.

The Human Resource Ministry estimates that there are 16,000 illegal immigrants in the country.