April 1, 2013 -
The US government is set to provide the Maldives government with a biometric border control system for free.
According to a report in Minivan News, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Michele J Sison signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will see a US technical team begin work on planning and implementing the new border system, set to be installed by June 2013.
The current system in place, provided by Nexbis group, could be terminated as a result of pending anti-corruption investigations into the company.
In the same report, Defence Minister Nazim said that the system would be provided for free to the Maldives, and added that the system would save the country US$35 million.
This MOU has been signed as the Maldives has come under criticism regarding its immigration control. In January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs looked to raise awareness of human trafficking issues in the country.
A separate Minivan News article reports that Nexbis has not been consulted regarding the MOU, and representatives from the company said they were uncertain what it would mean for the currently installed system, which has been in use since September 2012.
Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, the US is not the first country to assist the Maldives in implementing a biometric system. Last year, it was reported that the government of Pakistan would assist the country with the installation of a biometric security system at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.