Somalia: Monitoring Group sheds light on “embezzlement” by leaders
Mogadishu (RBC) A report to be published by MONITORING GROUP ON SOMALIA S has been leaked to the media. The report accuses president Sharif Ahmed, and the speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan, and former Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, of helping to themselves with donations from countries such as Oman. The report may affect the two Sharifs’ effort to revive their flagging cooperation which dates back to their days in Asmara when the president was the leader of the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia ahead of presidential election in August 2012. Money that should have been passed onto the audit company , Price Waterhouse Coopers, was shared in the presidency, the report alleges. Prime Minister Dr Abdiweli auhtorised the disbursement of donations from Sudan but no audit report is available to consult as to how money was used. Following are selections from the report:
1. Africa Oil, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, has engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship with a Somali security sector ninstitution, namely the Puntland Exploration Security Unit (ESU). For this purpose, the company has contracted the services of a private security company, Pathfinder Corporation.
2. In many respects,including its exceptional transparency, Pathfinder’s operations in Puntland arguably represent ‘best practices’ for private security companies in Somalia. However, in the assessment of the Monitoring Group, the company’s ‘temporary issue’ of military equipment to the ESU, as well as Africa Oil’s payment of ESU salaries (through its subsidiary, Canmex) constitute violations of the general and complete arms embargo on Somalia imposed by Security Council resolution 733 (1992) and elaborated by subsequent resolutions. Another excerpt that constitute arms embargo violations
A. Foreign military operations in Somalia
55. Operations in Somali territory by foreign military forces constituted an important category of embargo violation during the course of the past mandate. Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti all conducted large scale military operations in Somalia without prior authorization from the Committee. Djiboutian forces have since been ‘rehatted’ as AMISOM troops and Kenya formally merged its forces with AMISOM on 2 June 2012, bringing the status of their forces into compliance with the sanctions regime.
56. Ethiopia has deployed forces to Somalia in 2011-12, and provides
military assistance to allied militias. Ethiopia has announced that it does not intend to place its troops under AMISOM command, meaning that its operations in Somalia currently constitute a violation of the arms embargo.
57. Unidentified Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) routinely operate in
Somali airspace. The Monitoring Group currently considers UAVs to be of an exclusively military nature; their importation to and use in Somalia therefore represents as potential violation of the arms embargo.
58. A detailed account of foreign military operations in Somalia, including the operation of UAVs, is contained in Annex 5.2. Private security companies in violation of UNSC B. Private Security Companies (PSCs)
59. Numerous private security companies (PSCs) currently operate in Somalia, with several providing, or intending to provide, support to Somali security sector institutions. Since external assistance to Somali security sector institutions must follow the procedures stipulated in Security Council resolution 1772 (2007), the provision of such assistance, in the absence of authorization from the Committee, constitutes a violation of the general and complete arms embargo on Somalia imposed by Security Council resolution 733 (1992).
60. In this connection, the Monitoring Group is concerned that Member
States routinely fail to fulfill their obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 733 (1992) and paragraph 7 of Security Council resolution 1844 (2008), which requires them to take the necessary measures to prevent “the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons and military equipment and the direct or indirect supply of technical assistance or training, financial or other assistance” to Somalia. The Monitoring Group has identified several countries currently serving as logistical hubs for PSC operations in Somalia in violation of resolutions 733 (1992) and 1844 (2008), namely: Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates. Sterling Corporate Services / Saracen International Lebanon.
61. In late 2011, the assets, personnel and operations of Saracen
International Lebanon were transferred to Sterling Corporate Services (SCS), reportedly a Dubai registered company, which resumed large-scale military training, technical assistance and support to the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF). Established in May 2010, with the involvement of Erik Dean Prince, the American founder of Blackwater U.S.A., this externally-financed assistance programme has remained the most brazen violation of the arms embargo by a PSC.
62. In 2011, Saracen’s training camp near Bosaaso became the best-equipped military facility in Somalia after AMISOM’s bases in Mogadishu. The SCS base today includes a modern operational command centre, control tower, airstrip, helicopter deck and about 70 tents, which can host up to 1,500 trainees.Fund Mismanagement
38. Before leaving for Oman, Mohamed Sheikh informed Sharif Hassan, then Minister of Finance, about his planned travel to Oman and his intention to ask for security assistance. Sharif Hassan in turn informed President Sharif about the General’s plan, and both approved his mission. 35 Per the General’s request, the President wrote a formal letter to Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, detailing the plight of the Somali people and welcoming any security or financial assistance.36
39. In March 2010, a five-member TFG delegation headed by Mohamed Sheikh travelled to Oman and met with the director of the Omani Internal Security Service (ISS). During that meeting, Mohamed Sheikh presented the President’s letter together with an official request for assistance for the NSA, including funds for vehicles (Land Cruiser) and generators.
40. Several weeks after his return to Somalia, Mohamed Sheikh received a call from the ISS Director’s assistant, informing him that the Sultan had agreed to make a contribution to the NSA. The assistant requested the name of a TFG payee’s who could endorse a cheque.
41. Mohamed Sheikh directly contacted Finance Minister Sharif Hassan, who was then with the President in the UK. The Finance Minister instructed the General to contact Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) to enquire about the TFG swift account information, indicating that the Omani funds should be paid into the TFG’s account.37 Upon transmitting the account information to the Government of Oman, Mohamed Sheikh was informed that the total amount of the contribution was to be US$3 Million.38
42. Several weeks later, the Omani official again contacted Mohamed Sheikh to inform him that the Omani Agency was having difficulties arranging an electronic funds transfer, and suggested that a TFG official instead travel to Oman to pick up a cheque.39 As Minister of Finance, Sharif Hassan decided to make the journey, but for administrative reasons the venue of the meeting was changed to Dubai.
43. While in the UAE, the Sharif Hassan attempted to open a new bank account for the TFG into which to deposit the funds. He was unsuccessful, so instead asked Ambassador Abdulkadir Sheikhey Al-Hatimi (then General Consul of the TFG in Dubai and Northern Emirates) to endorse and deposit the cheque into the bank account ofthe Consul General of the Federal Republic of Somalia (see Attachment1.1.a).41 According to Mohamed Sheikh: “It took weeks to process the cheque and TFG officials forgot to wire the money to the PWC account.” 42
44. When the anticipated funds failed to arrive, Mohamed Sheikh contacted Sharif Hassan repeatedly to inquire about his “share”. The General confirmed to the Monitoring Group that he had asked for his agency’s “share” as well as for a small personal amount to cover the expenses he had incurred while on his mission to Oman.43 He claimed that he eventually received only US$10,000 from Sharif Hassan, which he believed originated from a different source.44
45. According to some former TFG officials, the Omani funds were ultimately distributed between President Sharif, Finance Minister Sharif Hassan, and Prime Minister Sharmarke.45 Sharmarke told the Monitoring Group that both his office and the President’s Office had each received US$100,000, which he suspected to have come from the Omani donation. Although he acknowledged having been aware of the Omani contribution, he claimed not to know how it had been spent .46
46. Ambassador Abdulkadir Sheikhey Al-Hatimi informed the SEMG that he had disbursed the US$3 million as follows: i) US$1.2 million to the Dubai based A.S.M.J General Trading (L.L.C.);47 ii) US$150,000 to Jubba Airways Cargo for previous cargo service provided to the TFG; iii) US$1,650,000 transferred through a money remittance company to Sharif Hassan, the then Minister of Finance in Mogadishu .48
47. Although Ambassador Sheikhey provided documentation to substantiate the payment to A.S.M.J., and the Monitoring Group is aware that the TFG contracts Jubba Airways for cargo services. The payment to Sharif Hassan however, remains unaccounted for. The Office of the Accountant General confirmed to the Monitoring Group that the Minister of Finance had reported no external assistance or revenue originating from Oman, stating: “[This assistance] has not passed through the state.
41 The Check of US$3million was deposited on 7 April 2009, in the Dubai Bank account number 020- 102208-0210 held by the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
42 Interview with General Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, Nairobi, 24 May 2012
43 Interview with General Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, Nairobi, 24 May 2012
44 Interview with General Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, Nairobi, 24 May 2012
45 Interview with a former TFG security officials, Nairobi, May 2012
46 Interview with former TFG PM sharmarke, Nairobi, 6 June 2012
47 A.S.M.J General Trading (L.L.C.) was registered in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 10 June 2008. Its Dubai license number is 612221. ASMJ listed shareholders are Yehya…
Assistance to Somalia’s Reconciliation from the Government of South Sudan
56. In early 2012, South Sudan donated, through Price Waterhouse Coopers, US$1 million to support TFG reconciliation efforts in Somalia’s newly liberated areas. A senior TFG official confirmed to the SEMG that the TFG did indeed receive the US$1 million from South Sudan.59 According to internal TFG documents obtained by the SEMG, thePM instructed the Finance Ministry to disburse the funds directly to individual government officials, MPs and political figures, including US$121,700 to his own office. No further information is available as to what these individuals did with the money, or whether any of these funds were in fact spent on reconciliation efforts.”