’The trouble with Africa is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the African character. There is nothing wrong with the African land or climate or water or air or anything else. The African problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenges of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.’’- Chinua Achebe, Nigerian Author and writer, a recipient of 30 Honorary degrees from universities across USA, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Corruption is a hurdle for development and good governance in the least developed countries (LDC), and emerging and development economies (EDE). In Islamic Shariah and in all global religions, it is a great sin. It has a bad impact on the socio-economic development of any nation. Efforts of this investigative article will look into the scale of corruption within the Government of President Abdiweli three years after assuming power, how he has personally enriched himself, family, relatives and friends and how his performance failure has led Puntland towards unsustainable crossroad that is destroying Puntland. In this article, I shall look at the definition of the term corruption, the different types of corruption and showcase some evidence of how embezzlement and daylight robbery of public money has become the norm of Puntland’s current administration.
The term corruption covers a broad range of human actions. According to the World bank, corruption is simply defined as ‘’the abuse of public office for private gain’’. Public office is abused for private gain when an official accepts, solicits, or extorts a bribe. It is also abused when private agents actively offer bribes to circumvent public policies and processes for competitive advantage and profit. Public office can also be abused for personal benefit even if no bribery occurs, through patronage and nepotism, the theft of state assets, or the diversion of state revenues.
Corruption is further classified as grand, bureaucratic, and legislative. Grand corruption refers to acts of political elite, wherein they change either the national policies or the implementation of national policies to serve their own interest. Bureaucratic corruption refers to corrupt acts of the appointed bureaucrats in their dealings with either their superiors (the political elite) or with the public. And finally, legislative corruption refers to the manner and degree to which the voting behavior of legislators can be influenced.
On the 8th of January 2014, millions of Puntlanders and Somalis alike cheered and celebrated the wind of change when President Abdiweli was elected to power. The five years under 2
President Abdirahman Faroole saw the near collapse of Puntland as a state. The people elected President Abdiweli as an icon of hope and salvation, a former Prime Minister and an associate professor of economics who successfully delivered Somalia out of 12 years of transitional government to a fully-fledged federal government with a huge and wide political and public experience. A statesman with unique transformational leadership qualities to conceptualize our goals and aspirations for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Puntland within a united federal republic of Somalia. A true son of Puntland or so they believed!!
What happened the three years after that bright date of January 8, 2014, will be historically documented as a textbook of betrayal. The scale of corruption and gluttony is unheard of. The Government of Puntland is in totality corrupted with nepotism and favourism so deeply rooted that it is no longer functioning. In our research, we have interviewed some ministers, DGs and ordinary people alike and they unanimously and voluntarily explained the deeply rooted chronic corruption and micro-management at the presidency. The demoralized and disappointed civil servants have not been paid in a total of 13 months out of 32 months living in absolute poverty. To be fair to the former President Abdirahman Faroole who was also corrupted but still he managed to pay in full the salaries of the government employees for the first three years of his administration and perhaps a few months afterwards. There is a complete paralysis of government institutions and the offices are empty covered with dust and dirt. The level of hygiene at these institutions is beyond the scope of this article.
Due to extreme corruption, President Abdiweli’s magnetism simply evaporated as he scooped so low to participate in all forms of corruption surrounding himself with yes-men demagogues who are publicly known for their sleazy dealings and theft of public money. Crooks known for their gluttony, pilfering and immoral character from the earlier regimes continue to serve in his cabinet and as close advisors despite public and donor protest. A complete government of thieves.
What on earth a President appoints twice a known thief as a member of his cabinet and a close confidante – the public face of this corrupt government? It sounds scary. This is a form of betrayal and treasonable. What are we talking about? We are talking about the likes of Abdiweli Hersi Abdulle (Indhaguran – the face of President Abdiweli government) current Minister of Commerce and Industry who was sacked by President Faroole after massive pressure from the international community after siphoning over $500,000 of donor funds in 2013 when he was the Minister of Labour, Youth and Sports (Source: UNDP). It is also a public knowledge Minister Abdiweli previously used to serve as a minister in the Somali Region 5 of Ethiopia in the 90’s where he stole millions of Ethiopian Birr – amounting to nearly over 2 million US dollars and then fled to Somalia in the year 2000; Ali Abdullahi Warsame – Minister of Environment, who also stole millions of donor money when he was the Minister of Health in the government of President Abdirahman Faroole building big houses in Garowe and mansions in Nairobi; Abdullahi Sheikh Ahmed (Raabiyo), a Swedish national – Minister of Finance and brother in law of President Abdiweli (who was previously sacked by a Swedish INGO for embezzlement) jointly misappropriated together with President Abdiweli over $7 million missing unaccounted money as documented in the financial statement presentation to the 38th 3
session of the parliament in August, 2016 by the Minister himself. Additionally, during that parliamentary session, the followings scale of corruption was uncovered by the parliamentarians:
• In the budget of 2015/2016, the Ministry of finance exceeded its budget limit by $3,887,577
• The State House (President Abdiweli himself) exceeded its budget by $1,709,871
• The Government could not logically and technically account for the missing $6,612,734,46 of unpaid civil servants’ salary and operational cost
• The Ministry of Finance used $859,000 for advertisement and publications yet the set limit as per the budgetary item was $120,000. It exceeded the limit by $739,000
Now what happened after this grand corruption was unearthed by some of the parliamentarians? Absolutely nothing as President Abdiweli is an expert of legislative corruption. He simply used state money amounting over $350,000 to bribe a good majority of corrupt MPs to prevent impeachment as was then circulated by some few decent MPs. The ring leaders of these scavengers are the parliamentary Standing Committee headed by MP Saadiq Garaad (the blade) and some members of the Finance Committee led by MP Mohamed Dheere Nuux (the one with inferiority complex), all under the armpit of the Minister of Finance Mr. Abdullahi Sheikh Ahmed (Raabiyo). As a team, these slobbering and bickering predators who are regular visitors and guests entertained at the presidential residence continue to unrelentingly empower the President with his corruption scheme impervious of the near collapse of the state.
No wonder the African problem is essentially and fundamentally a failure of leadership and the corruption is a manifestation of that failed leadership. African Economic Analyst Tony Watima who is an expert on corruption and governance in Africa explain that, “the reason why people engage in corruption is because these people have no agenda for their country. The prime reason why they get into public office in the first place is to use public office to feather their nest so that they have prestige.” What a perfect reflection on Puntland’s woes!!!
Ask anyone in Puntland which are the most corrupt ministries and they will readily point out the Finance, Health and Commerce & Industry. These are where the infamous and untouchable Puntland Professional Gang (PPG) freely operate under the full blessing of President Abdiweli as part of his clever scheme of bureaucratic corruption. The Ministry of Health is the single largest receiver of donor funds in Puntland followed by the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Education. A few months ago, President Abdiweli announced his plan for a reshuffle of Director Generals (DG) of the Ministries and this was warmly received by the public only to be surprised and shocked with the premediated and calculated cosmetic changes. Instead of targeting the known culprits of the PPG, he played tricks on himself and moved around some DG’s from one ministry to another but never dare touched the DG’s and Directors at the Finance and Health ministries – the ‘’she – camel’’ institutions of milking. 4
As a matter of fact, the first victim of this superficial reshuffle was Dr. Abdirizak Bog’ad, the former DG at the ministry of environment, the only DG in Puntland with a PhD and a Masters in environmental science who was moved to the ministry of Agriculture which he declined and resigned gracefully. The main reason why Dr. Abdirizak Bog’ad was eliminated from his position was to make way for the planned systematic misappropriation of over $30 million of EU and other donor funding in the environment sector. He was seen as an obstacle to the cartel and hence many wanted to see his back. A practical evidence to support the universal hypothesis which dictates that ‘’it takes one honest individual to uphold the law, but it takes a team of crooks to commit corruption’’.
Besides, it is a public knowledge even cited in Friday prayer sermons on the looting and pilfering of these public officials in particular at the ministries of finance and health. Also, it is a public knowledge these officials on an average build one villa per person every two months. Of particular concern, is how on earth can there be a ‘’personal relationship’’ between President Abdiweli and a junior Director of Finance at the ministry of health Mr. Hassan Shire Abgaaloow unless we are dancing to the concerto of bureaucratic corruption? How come he is a regular diner and a ‘’VIP’’ at the state house and official residence? A privilege that is not accorded to some ministers and MPs and even to our traditional elders who are the guardians of our state.
Our research has documented that President Abdiweli and Mr Hassan Shire Abgaloow are part and parcel of the Puntland Professional Gang with Mr Hassan representing the President in all lucrative deals having bought the President a penthouse in Lavington Nairobi. It must be stated that the President owns a number of properties in Nairobi, Dubai and Virginia – USA. His agent in Kenya is Mr. Omar Hassan Guleid (a family relative) who has bought him two flats in Lavington and Kileleshwe. In Dubai and Garowe is none other than his first cousin Bashir Abdullahi Ali (crooked mouth). Also of importance to mention is President Abdiweli’s closest advisors who are also his closest relatives and his real agents in all political and economic matters better known as the ‘’fat boys’’ – namely, Burhan Mohamud Gurey, Abdirahman M Haji Hassan (DG of Puntland Marine Police Forces, also nicknamed as the PM of Puntland), Osman Khadar M Haji Hassan, Abdirizak M Haji Hassan (Burgal), Imaam Abdiwahab Mohamud Gurey and Abdinasir Mohamed Gurey who is the Director of Finance at the State House. These ‘’fat boys’’ are gurus in exploring juicy bones for President Abdiweli and taking their cut from public resources. They decide who is to be a minister, MP, Senator and all senior positions.
Furthermore, one would wonder how on earth can the DG of the ministry of health Mr. Abdirizak Hersi own a chain of pharmacies across Puntland and a new hospital in Garowe? Where did the deputy minister of finance Mr. Ahmed Yaasin (fat buttocks) who was a former worker at an internet café in Bosaaso get the money to build two 2-storeys buildings in Bosaaso and a number of villas in Garowe? Where did the minister of public work Mr. Abdirashid Mohamed Hersi get the money to build a number of big villas in Garowe and Galkayo? Where did the Director General of Puntland Highway Authority Mr. Mohamud Abdinur get the money to build vast villas in Garowe and Galkayo? We all know their net salaries yet they accumulated these illegal assets simply because they are part and parcel of President Abdiweli’s thieving cartel – comrades in crime, those who deliver the cash in suitcases!! 5
In Virginia USA, President Abdiweli bought two large properties in Lorton through dubious connections to cover his track. He can run but he cannot hide from the US government now that the US government has officially taken a strong and remarkable stance on corruption by US citizens overseas making it punishable under US law. This reminds us of the dignified stance adopted by the US government against the playboy son of Equatorial Guinea President when they forced him to forfeit properties bought with the proceeds of corruption, accusing him of ‘’shamelessly’’ looting his country. We call upon the US government to support the poor people of Puntland and act quickly to recover these properties. We are more than ready to furnish the necessary evidence to proof these properties were bought with public money stolen from Puntland.
Among the worst crimes committed by President Abdiweli – an Associate Professor of Economics, is the printing of fake Somali Shillings and denying it outright whether it is in public or in private, even in front of the Parliament and to the international community who presented evidence. This has created the highest level of inflation ever recorded in Puntland at a time when our people are suffering from the worst drought in decades, mass unemployment, civil unrest and war on terror. The rate of $1 is 30,000 Som-Shs, up from Som Shs 22,000 before the printing of the fake money. Few months ago, when he was confronted by the World Bank and later by some MPs with samples of the fake money in the parliament he is on the record of saying the followings ‘’I do not know what you are talking about, we have printed no money and we are fighting corruption at all levels’’. What a joke!! So Mr. President, where do these fake notes that are injected into Puntland markets and openly circulating coming from???
The fake money printing cartel is a dangerous cartel headed by no other than President Abdiweli, his cousin Bashir Abdullahi Ali (the crooked mouth), a team of corrupt businessmen headed by the young thief and friend & close family of the President – Abdifatah Sugulle (Lenin), Minister of Finance Mr Abdullahi Raabiyo and a team of vultures MPs headed by the first Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Mr. Abdihamid Sheikh (Canadian) who have all shares in the cartel. Our research has documented that over 25 MPs have shares in this particular cartel. Indeed, this is a practical and sophisticated application of the combined three models of corruption (grand, bureaucratic and legislative) by President Abdiweli. This is perhaps a new discourse for academics on corruption in Africa!!
Our research indicates that the Auditor General and the Director General of the Bureau of Anti-Corruption & Good Governance have both presented dossiers upon dossiers of embezzlement to President Abdiweli and sought his help to prosecute these culprits, only to be accused of corruption themselves and warned that they are fishing in muddy water and should keep silent or otherwise they will lose their positions. A classic reminder of the biblical wisdom ‘’it is no new thing for the best of men to be falsely accused of the worst of crimes by those who themselves are the worst of criminals’’
The President is also on the record of saying one thing and doing another. His political binary and paranoiac statements and doubtful dealings have resulted in massive confusions and chaos 6
in Puntland and in Somalis overseas. In particular concern is his dealings with President Hassan and the federal government. The 4.5 saga is a classic example. He told his population that he will support their stance on the 4.5 debate and even went the extra mile of promising he will ‘’never compromise even if Ban Ki Moon came begging him’’, only to do the opposite and gracefully accept President Hassan’s wishes. If a psychiatrist compares the two positions, then the question will arise ‘’is this person alright?
Moreover, our research has proven that all these actions were jointly orchestrated by President Abdiweli and President Hassan to confuse and fool Puntland populace, and that President Abdiweli was paid $2.0 million by the central government to fulfill its agenda. No wonder in a recent interview the former President Abdirahman Faroole described President Abdiweli as a ‘’campaign manager’’ for President Hassan after observing and noting a number of betrayals and a total leniency towards President Hassan’s political agenda. We also have evidence to proof that over $3.2 million was donated by the central government early 2016 to Puntland as part of its national share and this was never deposited with the ministry of finance nor reflected in the budget. MP Diriye Kulane of Puntland Parliament recently held a press conference and presented the evidence and demanded to know the whereabouts of this money. Additionally, a monthly budgetary contribution of over $200,000 donated by the Turkish government in 2015 and 2016 remains unaccounted for and never reflected in the state budget. In a nutshell, all these funds have simply disappeared into private accounts managed by the President himself with full knowledge of his minister of finance Mr Abdullahi Sheikh (Raabiyo) who is also the ‘’campaign manager’’ of his cousin PM Omar Sharmarke.
Again, of interest is his numerous foreign trips and dubious deals at lavish hotels with foreign companies receiving millions in kickback. Everything seems to be on sale in Puntland from the ports to the airports and from fishery to oil & minerals. Gluttony at unprecedented record with no expert due diligence. It is documented President Abdiweli travelled more than 45 trips at an average cost of over $60,000 per trip totaling $2,700,000 in three years. He has exhausted all the western companies and now he has shifted to the Chinese granting them exclusive concessions and lucrative fishing and oil & mineral licenses single handedly without even approving it from the parliament as per the statutory requirement. Strangely, the new boy in town who promotes the Chinese agenda and now tossing juicy bones to the dribbling President is no other than the corrupt son of the former President of Puntland Khadar Faroole.
Additionally, these signed agreements are shrouded in complete secrecy best known only to President Abdiweli and his brokers. It must be highlighted here that the main traditional donors of Somalia and in particular Puntland has been the western countries and this shift to China by our salivating President is a personal agenda for him alone. We know choices have consequences but we want to emphasize our people are grateful for all the continuous support from the western countries and we ask not be punished for the crimes of this lunatic thief.
In late October 2016, the government of UAE summoned all leaders from the federal member states including President Abdiweli to Abu-Dhabi whereby it provided moral and material support towards the successful implementation of the electoral process. However, the strategic 7
objective for this meeting was to prevent the emergence and election of Islamic brotherhood MPs in the next parliament. Here, President Abdiweli and the other leaders from the federal member states were each given $1.8 million in cash to implement this agenda. In Puntland, the money was never used for the purpose and on the contrary, the President wasted his time travelling abroad resulting in the election of over 35% MPs in Puntland alone who are associated with the Islamic Brotherhood. Again, nobody knows where this money has gone as President Abdiweli single handedly took stock of the cash at a time when severe drought and starvation have devastated the people of Puntland.
But wait a minute! Some could argue that President Abdiweli has achieved a lot in particular in the infrastructure sector. The reality is, some of these projects were initiated at the time of President Adde Musse and finalized at the time of President Abdirahman Faroole only to be implemented by the administration of President Abdiweli. The economy is in shambles, the security is out of hand, justice is unheard of, and government institutions are collapsing. Indeed, the famous Somali artist Amin Amir has well captured the true picture of Puntland’s predicament for the past three years as shown in the below cartoon.
Today everything is boiling in Puntland. The ministry of security like many other institutions is no longer functioning, the intelligence agency is crippled with poor leadership and the soldiers like their civil servant compatriots have not been paid in months. We have witnessed in the past few weeks alone the day light execution of senior government officials by terrorists in Bosaaso and Galkayo cities. A week ago, the Imaams of the Masjids at all the major towns covered in their Friday sermons the current pathetic plight of our state and the corruption blight that is destroying Puntland. They warned that the situation is getting worse day after day.
As a final note, we call upon the noble people of Puntland under the leadership of their traditional elders to hold fast to the rope of their unity and take all the necessary legal measures to save their state from collapse. We also call upon the international community who are the main donors of Puntland to ensure that their tax payers funds are correctly used for the destined purpose of allocation. They must be directly involved in monitoring and evaluation of their funds and send regular internal auditors for the sake of transparency and accountability. The focus must be across the board but the beam must be on the ministries of health, finance, education and environment. Evidently, the newly emerged federal member states are performing better than Puntland institutions today and yet we have a President with a PhD in economics who spent most of his life in US where the principles of transparency, accountability and ethics in public services are the hallmarks of governance.
Our message to President Abdiweli is, you have betrayed the trust of your people, you have ruined and destroyed the dreams of our state, and your legacy is dishonesty and corruption. The early you leave us the better for our state and Somalia as a nation. Enough is enough!!