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The President's bank

Below is my article on Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's dodgy dealings, published today in African Arguments:

The President’s Bank: corruption allegations tarnish Somalia’s brave new world

The election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in September 2012 was heralded internationally as an almost messianic break from the past, an end to Somalia’s never-ending progression of corrupt “transitional” governments and the beginning of a brave new era. Once in office, Hassan Sheikh was feted by Western powers in London and Brussels, where he spoke of rebuilding Somalia and opening up the country to foreign investment. At a Brussels conference in September 2013, enthusiastic European donors delivered the ultimate endorsement – a pledge of $2.4 billion as part of a “New Deal” for Somalia.

But Hassan Sheikh’s tenure as the international community’s chosen one may be coming to an end. On 9 July 2014, the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea submitted a 37-page letter – leaked to Reuters news agency and this writer – to the U.N. Security Council accusing the president and a Maryland-based law firm of “a conspiracy to divert the recovery of overseas assets” belonging to the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS). At least one of the president’s close advisors, who was paid by the law firm for services rendered, was implicated in the letter for supplying arms to the al-Qaeda linked Islamist group al-Shabab.

Jay Bahadur
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