Somalia UN Security Council Seat Primed for Scandal 


Somalia is elected to a two-year rotational seat at the UN Security Council, and Somalis are elated. However, a scandal involving petty cash is likely in the offing.

Under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a profoundly corrupt politician who is notorious for politics of buying and selling political seats for petty cash, Somalia’s vote is primed for sale. The scandal will likely be leaked to the public. 

The idea is not to suggest Somalia should avoid political horse-trading based on national interests with other nations. The basic thesis anticipates the likelihood of a scandal involving petty cash under Mohamud. 

Mohamud rose to Somalia’s presidency in 2012 through an archaic system of clan chiefs and fractured regional political bosses selecting delegates. The delegates cast a ballot for preferred candidates. 

In 2012, Somalia was reeling from nearly three years (2006-2009) of brutal struggle against invading Ethiopian troops allied with Somali warlords. Al Shabaab was also on the rise. 

The country was hungry for different political value propositions. The political wind favored a member of the civic society.

Mohamud ran a chain of diploma mill schools and other shady businesses. Nevertheless, fatigue from violent conflict made him attractive to most delegates. He was elected President of Somalia on September 16th, 2012.

Somalia experienced unprecedented political corruption and clan clashes in the following four years. After Somalia’s central government collapsed in 1991, frozen assets in overseas accounts were mass-liquidated. Public land was auctioned off for pennies on the dollar to finance corrupt political operations. 

The most infamous examples include $12 million in American accounts, for which a court in Maryland convicted several individuals. Among the convicts was a lawyer who helped Mohamud facilitate the transaction. Mohamud looted approximately another $70 million from accounts in Switzerland. These are two examples with first person narration but there are many others.

Mohamud liquidated these national assets and deposited the funds into personal accounts. For instance, the trial transcript showed deposits into accounts belonging to Mohamud in Turkey. 

From 2012 to 2017, Mohamud went on a selling spree of public land in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. Mohamud ordered the removal of poor and displaced people from prime real estate around the airport and sold to private developers. 

Mohamud auctioned off public land between Afgoye and Mogadishu for petty cash to finance the selection of delegates in the following cycle. New neighborhoods have sprung up land allocated for public research and development decades ago. 

To underscore the breadth of corruption in Mohamud’s leadership, $30 million was distributed to delegates on September 15th, 2017, the night before the following selection. Ironically, Mohamud fell from grace at dawn the next day despite spending this sum on vote buying. 

Mohamud managed to return to Villa Somalia on May 15th, 2022. He picked up where he left off. He started by authorizing $9 million from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Somalia to finance illicit strategic objectives in Somalia.

Mogadishu airport security intercepted the funds and deposited them with Somalia Central Bank, which had been pending investigation for nearly four years. Mohamud immediately distributed the $9 million among his associates. 

This political track record makes a likely scandal involving Somalia’s UN Security Council seat possible. The potential offender is the UAE. 

Upon returning to power, Mohamud contacted many countries for funds to fuel corrupt political practices. He found a strong affinity with the UAE. 

UAE has been one of Mohamud’s most frequently visited countries in the last two years. Mohamud dispatched the current spy chief to the UAE and asked for funds as his administration faced a severe cash shortage to pay basic expenses. 

UAE paused many of its security activities after Al Shabaab attacked the main training center and killed four high-ranking security officials, including Colonel Mohamed Mubarak, who was responsible for operations in Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan. Mohamud further aggravated relationship with the tinny Gulf nation by signing a comprehensive security pact with Turkey, a strategic rival of the UAE. 

The UAE retaliated by stopping bankrolling several security activities in Somalia. For example, the UAE stopped making salary payments to many clan militias Mohamud formed in the capital under the slogan “capital city stabilization.” 

These militias had gone months without pay, and their food rations were reduced or stopped, leading to dire situations. Mohamud had been scrambling to find alternative sources of funds to pay these militias before armed mutiny and potential clashes in the streets of Mogadishu. This situation, and many similar ones, make him even more vulnerable to bribery in the form of petty cash.

The UN Security Council seat suddenly makes Somalia more attractive to the UAE. The tiny Gulf nation has plenty of cash from fossil fuels and has global ambitions. The combination makes the UAE a primary potential buyer for Somalia’s vote at the UN Security Council. 

Similarly, the UAE will be the first country to use corrupt transactions to blackmail Mohamud and extract additional political concessions. UAE has leaked similar damping information to the public, including the hacking of TurkSom Military Academy in Mogadishu.

UAE blackmail pressure on Mohamud has already intensified with FlyDubia suspending operation in Mogadishu. Mogaishu Airport is one of few revenues generating for Mohamud.

Once the corruption scandal breaks, the elation among Somalis is likely to transform into disappointment. It will be another addition to the stream of despair from corruption scandals in Mohamud’s never-ending misrule. 

Author is a Technology Entrepreneur and long time civic leader. Follow him @fuguni.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.