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Arrested Judgement: The Somali media warlords and the SEMG report – By Said Haji Ulusow

”When all you own is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail.”

Abraham Maslow 1908 – 1977 (Founder and spiritual leader of humanistic psychology.)

As I read the leaked so-called confidential report prepared by the Somalia-Eretria Monitoring Group (SEMG)  with  a guarded interest, I was shocked and flabbergasted  with the pumped up ‘’jumping to conclusion’’ reaction by many Somali owned media groups  without even doing an iota of justice to the report itself. This is simply an arrested judgment on a gluttonic and unprecedented proportion, and it sadly depicts the true genre of these media groups as cheap propaganda outlets with no professional values and ethics. Having said that, exposing corruption is “for public good” and it is the duty of every responsible citizen to expose corruption but news article written for the same with “ulterior motives” can be termed as libelous, and may automatically lead to charges of causing defamation as we have witnessed with the uncivilized paradigm of news distortion presented by these Somali warlord news media. Thus, it is always unethical and therefore morally unacceptable to currently be Jack & Jerk, player & referee, drummer & dancer, complaint & judge, thief and whistleblower or worse more the cause of catastrophic sufferings of a people and mouthpiece of the people. This is a classic and perfect reflections of the psychology of opposite attract!

Although one may question the motives behind the timing of the SEMG report at this critical juncture of the Somali history when the current Government of Prime Minister Professor Abdiweli has almost achieved  90% of the Roadmap milestones to smoothly end the transition, as expected the report once again massively and holistically exposes the grand corruption schemes of the two Sharif’s (The President and the Speaker of the Parliament) that has left the country in an abysmal economic situation after pocketing and wasting millions of dollars on themselves and their supporters.  That is why many decent Somalis across the world are opposed to the two Sharif’s politics prevailing in the country. The politics of snatching the food from the children, forcing our youth to see no light at the end of the tunnel and encouraging them to join the Alshabaab militia to achieve their political agenda, forcing small scale businesses to go bankrupt when some ministers and their supporters associated with them are given permission to indulge in scams and get more richer.

With regards specifically to the President, the report states that “One of the recipients of Omani funds identified by Ambassador Sheikhey was A.S.M.J General Trading, a company managed by Abbas Sheikh Mohamed ‘Jamalo’ (also spelt Jimale), Dubai based Kenyan-Somali businessman and close clan relation of President Sheikh Sharif Hawiye/Abgaal/Harti/Agoonyar). According to current and former TFG officials, Abbas routinely advances funds to the TFG, and provides meticulous accounts when he wants reimbursement.50 One of his primary services has been the provision of dry food and daily subsistence to the TFG security forces.”  This exposes the grand scale of nepotism and corruption of the President and his expertise internal dealing of milking the coffers to an unprecedented level of mezo (Harti Abgaal) and micro (Agoonyare) levels. Mr President, what happened to your Friday’s Mosque sermons where you used to preach your congregation the conceptual Koranic verse of ‘’Thou shall not steal’’!

The Report also highlighted and exposed the gluttony of Sharif Hassan,(the Speaker of the Parliament) better known as Sharif Sakiin – Sharif ‘’the blade’ for his 6th  sense for money laundering and conning ability that outsmarts the Italian mafia.  The report ‘’alleges that Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan has been looting and awarding contracts to his cronies since he was appointed as Finance Minister and deputy Prime Minister under the former PM Sharmarke’s TFG. The report alleges that Sharif Hassan was involved in misappropriating $3 million dollars donated by Oman government back in April, 2009. Similarly Sharif Hassan received $1 million dollar kickback from SKA Air Logistics, a company he awarded management services contract for Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport. Sharif Hassan and his business partner Sharif Ahmed Ba’alawi, General Gaafow, the Director of Immigration and Naturalization and Ambassador Abdulqadir Sheikhey, the Consul General in Dubai are believed to own shares in Mondial Technology Information, a company that was awarded Somali Passports production contract. Sharif Hassan also negotiated with Sudanese government to print Somali banknotes of Sh. So. 1,000, 2000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 that is worth more than $150 million dollars.’’

On the other hand, the report covers only two aspects out of the 450 pages that refer to the incumbent Prime Minister although some Somali warlord news outlets fabricated their own words contrary to the report to serve their malicious political agenda.

The report alleges “30. Both the Ministry of Finance and the OAG provide poor quality reporting of TFG expenses. Not all expenses are registered, and the Monitoring Group has obtained evidence demonstrating how the Office of the President and successive Prime Ministers send letters to custom authorities requesting import tax exemptions for individual or companies that have provided services or goods to the TFG.” It is utterly irresponsible to translate successive Prime Minister to mean the incumbent Prime Minister as presented by the Somali media warlords.

The report further alleges that another million from the Government of South Sudan is unaccounted and the Prime Minister’s office took its cut. The report alleges that “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 Somalia-Eretria Monitoring Report (SEMG) that the TFG did indeed receive the US$1 million from South Sudan.59 According to internal TFG documents obtained by the SEMG, the PM 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.”

In an official Press Release dated the 16th of July, the Prime Minister’s office ‘’clarifies that the said US$1 million donated to support TFG reconciliation efforts in Somalia’s newly liberated areas was in fact disbursed and spent on reconciliation efforts in newly recovered areas including Gedo, Bay/Bakool, Hiiraan and Central Somalia areas and evidence of such is available. Additional monies were spent on political outreach to the regions as mandated under the Road Map protocols. The very fact that the SEMG acknowledges that this particular fund was channeled through Price Waterhouse Coopers demonstrates that the Prime Minister conducts government transactions in a transparent manner.’’

Now, what surprises everyone is where does it say in the report as cited by Hiiraan online on the 14th of July, 2012 and others and I quote  “that the three top in the cockpit of the TFG leadership, that is the president the deposed speaker and PM are said to have misappropriated almost 30 percent of the TFG revenues.’’

It obviously appears from the above statement that there is a clear and concerted effort to tarnish the good name, reputation and achievements of the Prime Minister at this critical election period. The fact of the matter is that unlike the other two incompetent and corrupt Sharif’s, Prime Minister Abdiweli is a man of integrity and his achievements are out there for everyone to see and assess.  In addition to his academic credentials coupled with his vast and wide political and public experience, Prof Abdiweli Gaas is a charismatic leader amply armed to be effective in the administration of justice, the practice of traditional and customary law, fair play and good governance at both the local and international levels. He has the proven ability to influence people towards the achievement of goals. A quite directive, inspiring and influencing gentleman who sets high standards, builds strong sense of teamwork, purpose, group identity, delegates authority and deals as documented effectively with people’s concerns and problems. Above all, he is an all-round leader who is tirelessly directive, transactional, situational, servant with God-given transformational leadership qualities to conceptualize our goals and aspirations for accelerated justice and development in Somalia.

Few months after he became the nation’s Prime Minister in June, 2011, Prof Abdiweli Gaas set out the National Strategy plan in his policy statement to create a system of governance that supports and sustains our development and in fighting corruption at all levels. He immediately embarked on his strategy by establishing the first Anti-Corruption Commission ever since the collapse of the Somali central state in 1991 reviving the 1968 Anti-Corruption law and re-instituting the former Bureau of Investigation and Anti-Corruption. On 17st of January, 2012 the Prime Minister announced the appointment of nine Interim Commissioners of the Bureau for the Investigation and Anti-Corruption, based on the 1968 decree. The decree will need to be reviewed by legal experts to help improve and modernize it. Recently, to get his Anti-Corruption message loud and clear, the Prime Minister fired two of his Cabinet ministers for alleged corruption activities.  Kudos Professor!

In June 2012, to commemorate his one-year as the Prime Minister of the TFG, he made a TV/Radio speech to the Somali people wherein he touched on a number of delicate and important issues of national interest, and in particular the developmental milestones achieved by his government during the period of one year. On the aspect of good governance, the PM stated “I believe that my Government has made considerable progress in recent years in its attempts to create a system of governance that supports and sustains our development. The challenge therefore that faces our society today is to consolidate the progress that we have made so far and to ensure that the issue of good governance continues to be a priority. I am determined that the beneficiaries of our national drive to good governance will be largely those people in our society who are disadvantaged and poor. I continue to view corruption as an impediment to the promotion of good governance; it is an evil that cannot be tolerated in our society. Corruption continues to restrict development, retard economic growth and undermine program as that are designed specifically to benefit the poor. The negative effects of corruption continue to impact mainly on the poor and vulnerable in our society and runs contrary to our poverty reduction strategy goals. It is for these reasons that I have made it very clear that high on my agenda is support for the Anti-Corruption Commission. The Commission stands as an example of government’s commitment to the promotion of transparency and accountability. Where systems of accountability and transparency are weak and where those in public office take scant regard for development-orientated governance, high levels of corruption prevail. Corruption is an enemy of development and where corruption is not tackled seriously then development efforts will be thwarted. The Anti-corruption Commission is only one player in the process: other institutions must play their part too, and it is about time that evidence of their efforts begins to manifest itself in the public domain.’’

In a nutshell, it is now obvious that the allegations leveled against the Prime Minister were baseless, unfortunate and irresponsible. Besides, let me remind our people that the forthcoming presidential election provides us an opportunity to have a new president in Professor Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas who will never, unlike Sheikh Sharif and Sharif Sakiin (Sharif ‘’the blade’) misappropriate $3 million dollars donated by the Omani government back in April, 2009 to the poor Somali people when 82% of the people live on less than a dollar a day. Yes, we need a man who has had the experience of being a Prime Minister who understands that the primary purpose and responsibility of a government is the security, peace and welfare of the people. That man is the incumbent Prime Minister Prof Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas for the security, peace and welfare of every Somali national.

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Said Haji Ulusow is a Political Analyst based in Washington DC. He can be reached at E-Mail: saidulusow@gmail.com

 

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