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Maldives elections body denies getting IT help from foreign firm

Laxton Group was in the Maldives to discuss e-voting systems.



The Maldives Elections Commission denied getting help from a foreign firm for its IT work ahead of September’s presidential elections, local media reported.

Opposition MP Eva Abdulla Wednesday called on the EC to “explain the presence” of Laxton Group, a South African firm specialising in election, identity and self-service tech.

“Why does the EC need them? What services do they provide? Who contracted them? What democratic credentials do they have? Why was this not disclosed?” she tweeted.

EC member Ahmed Akram was not responding to calls when contacted by the Maldives Independent. But he earlier told local media the allegations were untrue.

He told Mihaaru that a foreign firm was not assisting the EC with IT work or any other matters related to the presidential election.

A team from Laxton came to the Maldives this month, Akram said.

“They visited the Maldives and met the EC to discuss their e-voting systems. There was nothing related to the presidential election,” he was quoted as saying.

He said only three political parties attended the meeting with Laxton, although all six parties had been invited. He did not say which parties had taken part in the meeting.

A photo circulating on social media showed foreigners inside an office identified locally as the Department of National Registration.

The EC has decided not to use e-voting for the September election, but is considering the system for the upcoming elections.

The Maldives has parliamentary polls in 2019.

Photo: Laxton Group