Another sabotage attempt

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It is another blatant sabotage attempt by the usual mercenaries oo rabo Soomaaliya inay waligeeda iska ahaato curyaan.


Feared Shabab Exploit Somali Banking and Invest in Real Estate, U.N. Says

The Shabab, the Somalia-based militant group that is Al Qaeda’s most powerful ally in Africa, is not only collecting millions of dollars in tariffs and payoffs but moving the money through local banks and even investing it in real estate and businesses, according to a new United Nations Security Council report.

The report describes how the Shabab, known for suicide attacks and a severe interpretation of Islam that bans music and other pleasures, have diversified their funding streams. Although financial dealings with the Shabab are prohibited under Security Council sanctions, the report said the group had found ways to expand from strictly cash transactions into utilizing bank accounts and electronic mobile services to save, transfer and invest money.

A Security Council panel of experts that monitors Somalia produced the report, which has not yet been made public. The New York Times obtained an advance copy.

The Shabab’s deadly attacks have wreaked havoc in Somalia and across East Africa. The group sustains an estimated 4,000 fighters, and expands its power, by collecting money from around south and central Somalia, including in the capital, Mogadishu, the report said.

The group charges vehicles transporting goods, demands that businesses pay a monthly fee and forcibly collects zakat, the annual alms that observant Muslims are expected to pay.

The Shabab also have penetrated Mogadishu’s port, blackmailing importers to pay a levy on goods, the report said. In all the cases the report documented, business owners paid up, citing threats and violence if they refused.

The report found evidence that Shabab operatives had stored and transferred the money through accounts operated by Salaam Somali Bank, a leading bank in Somalia.

In response, the bank said that it had never “opened an account for a sanctioned individual or entity” and that it had taken unspecified actions against suspicious accounts, but it did not rule out the possibility that the Shabab had found surreptitious ways to use the bank. The country’s finance minister also acknowledged the Shabab’s ability to exploit the banking system and called the group’s financiers “very cunning.”

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The report comes just a few months before crucial elections in Somalia, a strategically located country in the Horn of Africa that has endured cycles of dysfunction and mayhem for decades. It also is contending with the coronavirus pandemic, swarms of locusts that are destroying crops and floods that have displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

The Shabab pose a growing threat to Somalia and the region, even though the group has lost territory in the past five years, suffered high-level defections and been degraded by sustained American airstrikes.

The report is especially damning for the Somali government, which is backed by the United States and the United Nations. They have insisted that Somalia take steps to modernize its banking so that groups like the Shabab that are under sanction cannot exploit the system’s weaknesses.

“Al-Shabab’s use of formal banking systems enables the immediate transfer and distribution of large amounts, including in areas it no longer directly controls, eliminating the risk of physically transporting cash across hostile territory,” the report said.

The Security Council’s experts on Somalia, a six-member panel based in Nairobi, are responsible for monitoring compliance with sanctions imposed on Somalia. The panel undertook the same work on Eritrea, another Horn of Africa country, until 2018, when sanctions there were lifted after Eritrea mended relations with neighboring Ethiopia.

In past years, the panel’s reports have examined topics such as how food aid in Somalia was redirected by corrupt contractors and how the Shabab’s bomb-making operations became sophisticated.

But the focus this year has largely been on the Shabab’s sources and movement of funds.

During the reporting period, from last December to this August, the report’s authors found evidence that the Shabab had generated about $13 million in revenue. This included an estimated $2.4 million from checkpoints in the Lower Juba region in southern Somalia and $5.8 million from charging businesses in the southern port city of Kismayo. The report includes redacted copies of receipts for these transactions.

Two bank accounts associated with the Shabab — paid into by retailers, shipping agencies and car dealerships — generated more than $3 million.

The report linked the transfers to the Salaam Somali Bank. In two separate accounts reviewed by the panel of experts — one receiving port duties, the other alms collection — the panel found large cash deposits and frequent transfers that exceeded the $10,000 limit that would have required the bank to report them.

In one of the accounts, $1.7 million was transferred entirely in 87 transactions, with one person receiving $310,000.

Over a 48-hour period in May, more than $322,000 was transferred from these two accounts to a third bank account, the report said, showing “an institutional link between the accounts and an organized approach to the distribution of funds.”

The panel of experts recorded a total of 128 transactions that would have warranted disclosure to Somalia’s Financial Reporting Center, which investigates suspicious financial activities.

A review of the accounts “revealed no obvious legitimate outgoings or expenditures,” the report said.

In a statement, a Salaam spokesman said the bank had taken “appropriate actions against numerous accounts” believed linked to “suspicious activity.” The bank also said the United Nations had reached out to it about the panel’s investigation but that since the bank had not “received the details of these accounts” it was “unable to determine whether the appropriate action has been taken against these accounts.”

After decades of war, Somalia has achieved a modicum of peace, as it looks to build functioning public institutions. This includes oversight of financial outlets like banks and the passage of laws against money laundering and terrorism financing.

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I do not like anything those sitting in Nairobi hotel publish in Somalia, but this time, at least they are reporting something we all know.

Here are the main points I agree on this report.

1- Al-shabaab infiltration of ports.

Is is true and it happening. It has been confirmed that as soon as you pay your taxes at the Mogadishu port and move your goods to your businesses, an Al-shabaab operative would come and tell you exactly the amount of goods you imports through the ports and will demand their taxes. They might even tell you how much the government took in taxes.

2- They have their own accounts in banks.

I do not blame Somali banks since it is difficult to distinguish legitimate traders from those who work for Al-shabaab, but their are mechanisms to detect and report transactions.The problem is the weak and corrupt government is not doing its job of tracking large cash transactions. It is possible to track and find who is depositing what or withdrawing cash.

Since illegal taxes and extortionist are the main driving engine of Al-shabaab war, financial tracking should be as big as the military war.

3- Tele banking.

They did not mention in this report but telephone banking is huge attraction for Al-shabaab.

Anyway, the time has come for Somali money institutions to open their books to the security agencies. 



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Unfortunately most of this report is true, I have seen the shabaab bank account with salaama bank my brother keeps the receipts whenever he pays the money they demand and also whenever my brother receives shipping container alshabaab knows about it contacts him to pay port fee.

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2 hours ago, cadnaan1 said:

Unfortunately most of this report is true, I have seen the shabaab bank account with salaama bank my brother keeps the receipts whenever he pays the money they demand and also whenever my brother receives shipping container alshabaab knows about it contacts him to pay port fee.

I concur, Al-Shabab has penetrated many aspects of the Somali finance industry. 

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6 hours ago, cadnaan1 said:

Unfortunately most of this report is true, I have seen the shabaab bank account with salaama bank my brother keeps the receipts whenever he pays the money they demand and also whenever my brother receives shipping container alshabaab knows about it contacts him to pay port fee.

100% agree, most of the the things in the report is accurate,  the BIG banks, telecoms, who pay almost nothing in taxes are WAY more stronger , than the government, anyone thinking with common sense, understands, government must be able to audit , check, and regulate  what is going on between these transfers, it is like a dark web, some of them generate billions of dollars, and pay little tax. And since it is IT based, it is very easy to audit, but they don't allow.

The worse part , example a minister who brings ideas how to manage, these,  to Prime Minister, is removed, by these power lobbyists or some cases assassinated.

Farmaajo gov, spent last 4 years going about IMF and debt relief,  and continues nonsense, has done little to address the elephant in the room,  money laundering, terrorist financing, illegal trading.

Without controlling and regulating the financial sector, government will not be able to anything.

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Remittance Firm Fights Money Laundering Claims

Somalia's money remittance firm Amal Express says it is open to an audit by regulators to prove it has not aided money laundering for purchase of illegal arms.

The company, which runs the semi-formal transfer service known as Hawala in most East African countries, says it has always followed local laws and standards, including limits on the amounts of money to be sent by individuals.

"We reiterate our long-standing commitment to upholding our corporate integrity and full compliance with laws and regulations in all the countries we operate in," Guleid Jama, the firm's Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement on Friday.

"We have invited the Central Bank of Somalia, our regulators, to audit our internal systems regarding the alleged dealings with blacklisted persons. We expect the findings of the independent audit would be made public."

The company is reacting to a report by Geneva-based Global Initiative Against Organised Crime. Published in September, the report claimed a number of Hawala service providers including Amal had been used to settle illegal payments to arms dealers in Yemen.

With Somalia under an arms embargo since 1993, any purchases of arms could be both illegal in the country and the region, given the UN Security Council's resolutions that are binding to all member states where Amal is licensed to operate.

Thresholds surpassed

The report titled "Following the Money", authored by former UN Expert panellist for Somalia, Jay Bahadur, said illegal payments were as high as $3.7 million between 2014 and 2020.

It also said that Somalia's port city of Bossaso in Puntland state was the origin of most of the illegal payments to arms sellers in Yemen.

Some of the payments reportedly went above the $10,000 threshold, where, normally, the handling firm should raise red flags and report to authorities.

Amal was particularly accused of handling cash sent to Abdulrab Salem al-Hayashi, who was in October 2017 sanctioned by the US Treasury for "assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of" Al-Qaeda-linked terror groups in the Arabian Peninsula.

Amal rejected claims it transferred money to such an individual and refutes a copy of the receipts published in the report.

"The document was not authentic. It was a very poor imitation of our real receipts and had several inconsistencies and formatting mistakes. We proved [this] to the author of the report when he sought to establish its authenticity, before the report's publication," the CEO said.

"As we speak, auditors from the Somalia Central Bank are in Bossaso and they have been given adequate access to our systems to verify for themselves that our systems have stringent checks," Jama told the Nation when asked about the company's know-your-customer rules."

Little scrutiny

Somalia's Hawala system has been influential in reaching millions of people who remain largely unbanked. According to local regulations, individuals can send or receive up to $300 without undergoing rigorous background checks.

But Somalia doesn't have national ID data and the Global Initiative report claimed some senders and receivers may have used variations of their names to dodge scrutiny.

Amal officials told the Nation they cooperate with authorities and use a system called World-Check to flag transactions involving persons listed as high risk.

The World Bank estimates that just about 15 per cent of the 15.5 million Somalis have bank accounts, leaving the Hawala system as the main service for transmitting the estimated $1.3 billion sent by the Somali diaspora every year.

It advised the Somali government to begin developing a robust identification system to eliminate the loopholes.

"An effective identification system would help narrow the significant financing gap in Somalia and address de-risking issues," it said in a report titled "Rapid Growth in Mobile Money".

"Better mobile money regulation and a robust identification system are closely connected and need to be developed in parallel."


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The xawaala owners have always been the hidden warlords pulling the stings behind the scenes for all the country's troubles. Stability is bad for them. 

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