On Monday, following a meeting between the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire, the PAC Chairman, Ibrahim Mahdi Buubaa, told the press that it came to light that the former government of Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Siilaanyo’ transferred a debt amounting to $80 million Dollars.
Mr. Buubaa, also a prominent executive of Waddani and until then the official Spokesperson of that party, one of the two opposition parties of Somaliland, intimated that the debt was officially transferred to the incumbent government and that it has become an unbearable burden on the country’s financial health.
“We have discussed a number of areas that had been identified as problem areas and explored ways to rectify existing anomalies. One of them was the transfer of $80 million Dollars in debt. Another was the misuse of a 2% budget yearly allocation to the development of eastern regions,” the PAC Chairman said, intimating that the facts came from the discussion they had with Minister Sa’ad, standing beside him.
The Minister did neither confirm nor abrogate the PAC Chairman’s summation of their meeting. In fact, his comments were interpreted as a tacit approval of Mr. Buubaa’s words.
“It is quite normal that governments transfer amounts of loans and debts incurred. It is shown on every budget and on takeovers,” the Minister said.
He did not, however, say how much was transferable or, indeed, the said amount was taken over from the previous government or not.
Zamzam Abdi Adan, the last Minister of Finance under President Siilaanyo, told Horn Cable TV over the phone, following the PAC statement, that there was no such debt transferred.
Her words made it clear that nothing of that kind was possible.
“An amount as large as that can only be borrowed from big businesses or from other countries and international entities. At the time I handed over responsibility I made it clear that there could possibly small amounts that were not yet invoiced by service providers such as in the supply of rations to the armed forces. We have paid all salaries in full the month before the takeover. If there was possibly any carry-over debts payable to providers the highest threshold would not have been 4 to 5 million – at most. My handover speech is on record,” she told the Somaliland-owned independent TV. (listen to her voice on both recording above).
Ex-Minister revealed that she spoke to Dr. Sa’ad over the phone, and that he told her that he did not tell PAC or any other entity that there was an outstanding $80 million Dollars debt his government was teetering with.
Zamzam, currently abroad on a personal visit, said she was ready to fly home any minute to challenge the reported amount in loans and unpaid bills.
If, as Zamzam says, there was no such debt transferred, and that the announcement was not corroborated by the government, the, the question arises ‘who is behind this scandal?’.
Some critics are even alleging that the incumbent government, if it does not distance itself from it by today, is guilty of double-dealing and a conspiracy to steal the money from now on, and so preparing the ground for eventual inclusion of amount on this year’s budget and others to follow.
Not so coincidentally, perhaps, the Waddani Chairman, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Irro’, relieves Mr. Buubaa of the spokesmanship of the party the same day, Monday,, appointing Barkhad Jama Battun, the ex-Secretary for Justice, in his place, a ploy designed to deflect association of Mr. Buubaa’s lancing ‘revelations’ on Kulmiye to Waddani – even the party may have tacitly approved them.