Somalia:Prof Abdiwelli and three years of chronic corruption

‘’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
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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
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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.
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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!!
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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 AntiCorruption
& 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
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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
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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.
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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!!
Diriye Mohamed
Abdirahman Ismail
Puntlandhero1998@gmail.com

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