By Ahmed Abdi and Abdullahi Nur
Millions of dollars of assets belonging to the Somali nation have been seized by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s party of Damul Jadiid, or Islah-Somalia’s Muslim Brotherhood. The money has been taken by members Damul Jadiid to increase the party’s economic clout.
Somali Media has learned that President Hassan was heavily involved in the theft from the former head of the Somali central bank, Mrs Yussur Abrar, who exposed the theft.
President Hassan appointed Mrs Yusur Abrar as Central bank governor on on Sept 13, 2013. He instructed her to work with Muse Ganjab, a member of the president’s party and allegedly a financial supported of al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda aligned militia.
Muse Ganjab was attempting to reclaim more than $100 million worth of Somali funds, which were being held abroad.
“The President said to me, work with Muse Ganjab to recovered national assets from foreign countries and then he instructed us to transfer the assets to his South African bank account,” Yusur told Somali Media.
The consultation begun and the President’s political party of Damul Jadiid put pressure on bank governor, Mrs. Abrar to recover the money so that they could use the Somali national funds for their personal profit and to fund the party’s activities.
During Abdi Farah Shirdon tenure between October 2012 and December 2013 the Federal government of Somalia had no strong effective cabinet that would be notified to stop Damul Jadiid from stealing the national money and Mrs. Yusur Abrar had been recommended to work with the president’s team by members of Mr. Shirdon Cabinet and friends from Somaliland.
Receiving recommendations from Somali patriots that were unhappy how the group was handling the national assets Mrs. Abrar refused to work with the party and for the personal gain of individuals. “I could not accept any order from any entity that intended to steal the national asset in the name of government,” she said.
By taking this stand she braved the danger that may come from the elite associated with the Presidency, based at Villa Somalia. To resist their demands the bank governor got in touch with the U. S. Embassies in Dubai and Nairobi to inform the threats coming from her the president’s henchmen.
The Bank governor’s relatives begged her not to risk her life by resisting Damul Jadiid’s demands and Mrs Yusuf finally decided she had no option but to leave Somalia in November 2013. Once she was out of the country she passed the information she had to the Somali diaspora.
“I was asked to refer all the money to First Rand Bank and Nedbank accounts in South Africa, but I had no stomach to do so; then the guys in Villa Somalia threatened me to death that is why I escaped to U.S.”
However, Mrs. Yusur told everything she knows about this case to Somali media in their interview with her.
Muse Ganjab is reported to have also fled from Mogadishu and President Hassan Sheikh instructed his security officials to remain quiet about these events in the hope that the incident will gradually fade into obscurity and be forgotten.
Ahmed Abdi is a freelance journalist and Abdullahi Nur Colombo is a former VOA Somali Service reporter.