Mogadishu (Commentary) — The in tray of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud contains a legally contentious case about off-shore oil resources of Somalia. It is a case that is far more legally challenging than the MoU that Abdirahman Abdishakur signed in 2009.
Somalia will face in a court a Western oil company whose sole claim rests on its skills to secure lucrative contracts from unsuspecting and gullible Somali leaders.
In February 2022 the Petroleum Minister signed an illegal production sharing agreement with Coastline Exploration. What can explain the continued service of Petroleum Minister Abdirashid M. Ahmed other than a commitment to protecting a traitor at all costs?
On 16 May 2022 Abdirashid sent a congratulatory message to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. President Mohamud assumed power on 23 May 2022, and yet he has not intervened to address the most treasonous agreement that a Somali Minister has ever signed in violation of a presidential moratorium on signing agreements during the transition period.
As a Member of the Council of Presidential Candidates President President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud did not express his view on the illegal production sharing agreement. He led the first post-transition government; his administration facilitated the procedures for inviting Soma Oil and Gas (now Coastline Exploration) to conduct offshore oil drilling surveys. To pretend that the matter is being investigated by the Office of the State Attorney General is akin to abusing the collective intelligence of Somalis. The Office of the Attorney General is not more than a political tool for Mohamed Hussein Roble, the Prime Minister of Somalia, who is protecting the Petroleum Minister against prosecution.
The Petroleum Minister told VOA Somali Service that he was aware of the presidential decree on agreements during the transition period. This admission should have necessitated his suspension from duty.
There are other reasons why the Attorney General is not fit to investigate any federal cases. The Financial Governance Committee (made up of the Federal Government, European Union, World Bank Group, IMF and African Development Fund and African Development Bank) accused the Attorney General of Suleyman Mohamed Mohamud of helping the Federal Government of Somalia to bypass rules for awarding contracts, despite having no powers to bend the rules.
Another reason for his unsuitability to investigate federal cases pertains to the “charcoal case” involving the Foreign Affairs Minister Abdisaid Ali whom Roble suspended for “authorising a ship exporting charcoal and stranded in Oman”.
Roble instructed the Office of the Attorney General to investigate the case. Just as it unreasonable to discount the recorded manipulation of the Attorney General by Roble, it is inappropriate to gloss over the fact that the Attorney General and the Foreign Affairs Minister are distant paternal cousins. Roble plotted to undermine procedures to cover up prime ministerial power abuse. Mogadishu political elites seem to have chosen to put clan interests above the national interest. It is political impunity that makes mockery of both good governance and progress towards debt relief.
Salad O. Jimaleh