Businessmen and ex-shareholders of the Berber oil terminal which has been recently nationalized by the current Somaliland government denounced what they termed as ‘hasty’ and ‘unprofessional’ takeover of the depot.
Speaking to Eryal TV at the end of a meeting major shareholders go together, Tuesday, in Hargeisa, Faisal Yussuf Haj Adan, stated that they viewed the government takeover of their concern as tantamount to unilateral impoundment reminiscent of bad old days.
“The government has taken over the oil terminal without a single member of the BOG management present,” he said.
“If not for the Berbera Oil Group (BOG) intervention,” Faisal pointed out “the new government would have had nothing to bargain with at the terminal”.
Faisal revealed that at the time BOG has assumed management, the oil terminal was in hock owing US$2.5 million to various concerns.
Faisal showed the consternation of his Group in seeing only one member among the over-fifty shareholders of the BOG present at the government’s unilateral takeover.
“Of course, we were not happy to see a single member of the BOG who was not even a member of neither the Executive body nor of the general managerial structure posing as an authority who had the clout and the authority to hand over our collective investment,” he said.
Faisal expressed a possible conclusion the BOG and the general public may reach of a takeover using an impostor who, also, happened to belong to the same ethnic sub-phylum of the president.
“Even if the government had to abrogate the lease which the previous government has given us, it should have put a plausible, bilaterally agreed process into motion, first, in place of a unilateral expropriation of our investment as is the case now” he added.
Faisal and others before him disclosed that the President never called them to talk about bis intended takeover before publicizing it on a Presidential Decree, and that he did not, either, grant them an audience they have requested of him which lent his action another, unflattering hue.
“We have sent intermediaries to the President and we will await what they bring back before we decide a course of action,” he said.
Faisal said they were ready to officially hand over the oil terminal given that their investment is returned and that a proper process is put in place.
Earlier, Musa Dalab, one of the most vocal businessmen in Somaliland, revealed that above fifty shareholders sunk their money into the BOG venture. Of the fifty, Musa disclosed, only around twenty could possibly survive a takeover that did not promise a quick settlement, compensation of their investments.
Stakeholders maintain that they had been leased the terminal on a perfectly legal, transparent platform and that an annulment of that lease must take a similar course and should not be an accroachment of their constitutional righst as citizens and as investors.
“We have put over 14 million US Dollars into this investment, half of which was the cost of the lease,” he said, demanding that the government explain how it arrived at a decision which did not take their investment or the adverse consequences of the expropriation into consideration.
The government, on Monday, organized an event during which the new Manager, Hassan Omar Embassy, officially assumed his responsibility despite the glaring absence of the BOG management and over 99% of the shareholders.
Rumor has it that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, who assumed office on December 14, 2017, has, since then, fallen into a vicious, vindictive web woven up by his former allies in the Madasha (National Consultative Council) which brought together former, failed politicians whose primary agenda was to bring down their former leader, and the then President of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Siilaanyo’.
Only last week, Mohamed Hashi Elmi, one of the more vociferous, more militant members of the Madasha, atypically, asked the nation to give President Musa Bihi ‘another year as he has embarked on commendable programs’. Such a statement coming from a man who served under, and then caustically opposed, every President Somaliland ever had except the incumbent – Abdirahman, Rayale, Egal, and Siilaanyo – was a major cause of concern on the colors the present government is showing the public.
Another grapevine argument contends that the government’s take over is, indeed, a cover up for another. more favored group presently pulling strings behind the curtains.
Only time will tell.
President Bihi NATIONALIZES Berbera Oil Terminal, Egal Airport Parking & Security