Friday, July 21, 2017
Wardheer News
  • Opinion
  • Talk of the town

The Naming and Shaming of Ambassador Ali Americo

By Hassan M. Abukar

The United Nations Monitoring Group Report on Somalia and Eritrea, which was released this week, offers a scathing attack on former Somali ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ali Nur “Americo” for engaging in a widespread graft and misappropriation of state funds. Americo, who was stationed in Nairobi for a decade, has yet to respond to the allegations.

Cali Ameeriko
Mohamed Ali ( Americo)

Many loved the popular ambassador for his accessibility, humbleness, and activism. In April of this year, three weeks after he was recalled to Mogadishu, he told Abdi Latif Dahir of Sahan Journal that he was honored to be liked by many people. “I was doing my job, and it is really nice when you are liked for what you did,” he humbly said. “God forbid the other way around,” he added. As if to punctuate his message and legacy, he said “I am leaving on a high note.”

Not so fast

Per the UN Report, Americo ran the Embassy like his own fiefdom. He controlled embassy funds, personally paid the staff, paid all expenses, and, on rare occasions, even personally transferred money to Somalia. In one case, he opened an account in the name of the Embassy that was different from the official account and had a friend outside the Embassy to run the bank accounts.

Mohamed Ahmed Anwar, a friend of Ambassador Americo, told the UN Monitoring Group that he was never an employee of the Embassy, but nevertheless he acted as the envoy’s private accountant. Here is an account of how much money Anwar, the “private accountant,” handled for a major Somali Embassy under Americo:

1. From June 2014 to April 2015, the Embassy collected USD $960,836 in fees for issuing 7,500 Somali passports and countless emergency travel documents. In that same period, only $486,258 was remitted to the Central Bank in Mogadishu, leaving about $474,578 unaccounted for.

2. The Chinese Government donated $1 million to Somalia through the Embassy in Nairobi. Only $479,314 was deposited in the Central Bank and the remaining $517,686 was allegedly paid to a law firm (Ibrahim, Issack & Company) that provided services for a case that involved the illegal sale of the Somali Embassy property many years earlier. According to the UN Report, the invoice from the law firm was different from the actual amount allegedly paid. Fowzia Adam, then the Somali Foreign Minister, corroborated the irregularity of the way the Chinese donation was handled. When Mohamed Farmajo was prime minister, he had authorized the release about $112,000 specifically to the Embassy for the legal fees. However, Americo said he had no knowledge of that fund.

3. The Somali Foreign Ministry allocates $49,200 to the Embassy every quarter ($196,000 annually) for operational costs and the Somali Federal Government an additional $246,000 every year. With the fees the Embassy collects for issuing passports and travel documents, the total yearly revenue for the Embassy is about $720,578. This rivals the annual budgets of three important federal ministries such as the Ministry of Health ($793,032), the Ministry of Labor ($760, 116) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports ($572, 220).

Ten days before Ambassador Americo was to return to Mogadishu, he brought a team of information technology specialists to the Embassy to delete all sensitive files in the Embassy’s computers and furthermore “hard copies of documents” were “systematically destroyed,” according to the report. When the Embassy was handed to the new ambassador, per the UN report, only about $4,000 was left in the Embassy’s bank account. Moreover, Ambassador Americo had not paid the rent ($6,000 monthly) for the Embassy for months.

The UN Monitoring Group observers contacted Ambassador Americo about these allegations of misappropriating of funds. He was adamant he had done nothing wrong. In his words, he said that the missing funds had been used for the “assistance of refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma camps, rent of vehicles for dignitaries, assistance to Somalis accused of piracy in Mombasa, assistance of needy Somalis in Kenya, i.e. tickets, school fees, and hospital fees. Function for the Embassy. Assist Somalis throughout Kenya who needed assistance. Paid for school fees for students who got good grades for encouragement. Held seminars for the youth in Eastleigh, Mombasa and other cities. Paid hospital fees for the mothers, elders and other Somalis who could not pay their hospital fees.”

When Ambassador Americo was asked if he had any documentation for those services, he couldn’t furnish any. No documents were found in the Embassy either.

The UN Monitoring Group Report raises legitimate questions about the way the Somali Federal Government and its officials handle public funds. The case of Ambassador Americo is one of many examples that need to be examined and, of course, the ambassador has every right to due process. Abdi Hosh, a Somali parliamentarian, has recently proposed in the social media that the Somali Attorney General “initiate prosecution proceedings against the individuals named, their properties put on a temporary lien and their passports confiscated.” Hosh added, “It would be courageous of the government to indict everyone who is mentioned in this [UN] report for misappropriation of money and recover all these monies.” This is the right course of action to leave the endless loop of recriminations and shenanigans on the side and to find the truth.

For Ambassador Americo, all the hoopla and the informal talk about possible 2016 presidential run might be prudent to be put on hold until he answers to these serious allegations .

Hassan M. Abukar
——————

Hassan M. Abukar is a regular contributor of WardheerNews and the author of Mogadishu Memoir. He can be reached at abukar60@yahoo.com.


We welcome the submission of all articles for possible publication on WardheerNews.com. WardheerNews will only consider articles sent exclusively. Please email your article today . Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of WardheerNews.

WardheerNew’s tolerance platform is engaging with diversity of opinion, political ideology and self-expression. Tolerance is a necessary ingredient for creativity and civility.Tolerance fuels tenacity and audacity.

WardheerNews waxay tixgelin gaara siinaysaa maqaaladaha sida gaarka ah loogu soo diro ee aan lagu daabicin goobo kale. Maqaalkani wuxuu ka turjumayaa aragtida Qoraaga loomana fasiran karo tan WardheerNews.

Copyright © 2017 WardheerNews, All rights reserved

  • Bulhan Warsame

    While corruption is prevalent in Culusow’s government-including overseas missions, I think we may need to step back and think carefully about this allegation. Mr. Americo was recently traveling in the country when he was prevented from visiting Beledweyne by one of Mr. Culusow’s representative in Hiiraan. After the refusal, Mr Americo was forcibly escorted to Jowhar. I wouldn’t rule out about the possibility of Culusow’s party being behind this latest allegation to discredit Ali Americo, whom they may view as a potential rival for 2016. However, if the allegations are groundless, Mr. Americo needs to come out and refute as soon as possible. The problem with the UN watch dog is that they cite anonymous sources as evidence.

    • Mohsin

      Strange that you are acting as a devil’s advocate for a crook who was notorious long before the UN Report for his seedy criminal activities at the Embassy. He did all this because he knew he would get away with it. His only defense is that Hassan Culusow and his cohorts in Mogadishu equally use their posts to enrich themselves.

      • Bulhan Warsame

        Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty! I am not defending Ali Americo (he could be the most corrupt guy on earth), but my argument is that since he was part of a deeply entrenched corrupt system, we should substantiate the allegations against him before we make him the fall guy
        for this scandal while allowing no less corrupt politicians such as Culusow
        remain completely unscathed.

        • Mohsin

          Bulxan
          Sorry but you are somewhat disingenuous. You know very well that, despite the documented allegations against Ambassador Ali America, the latest being that of the UN Report, he will never be brought to book, like the other crooks holding the highest posts of the State, until the rule of law is established if at all it is established. The fact that he did not respond to deny the serious charges against him in the UN Report shows his utter contempt for accountability and his cocksure untouchability.

          • Bulhan Warsame

            Don’t get me wrong. I am not in any way advocating for Ali
            Americo. In fact, I am against the very idea of having one clan dominating the presidency because the former capital is now theirs. I believe 2016 should be different and we should have someone who hails from other clans except the secessionists (because of the inherent conflict of interest). I am particularly opposed in Mr. Americo holding any of the three highest positions in the nation because of the potential Esther effect. However, my point is we shouldn’t settle on Ali Americo- who wasn’t hierarchically that high – and instead focus on having bigger heads roll, including that of Hassan Culusow.

          • Dhacarbe Abdul

            I happen to agree with Mr. Bulhan . I think, we need bigger sharks to be in the net and on the other side good number of Culusow government people are corrupted to the bones. This UN so-called or NON- THINKing Tank agencies and NGOs are the disease that Somalia must be cured from and unless Somalia finds wise common-good thinking person/people, Somalia has no chance of ever becoming a nation. These agencies are the incubators , nurturers of the whole corruption culture.
            Mr. Culusow and Mogadishu clan-owners think the government as NGO that some clans own.. So, if ever Somalia is to be a nation the capital has to be moved to somewhere else.

          • Bulhan Warsame

            I agree with you. Changing the capital is must for future stability and prosperity. As long as the capital belongs to one clan (and one that has committed genocide in the not distant past and is still hell bent on repeating it if they can), Somalia’s prospects for stability and good governance is very dismal.

  • http://wardheernews.com/ Xaaji Kadeed

    Yaab! Mohamed Ali Americo, wuxuu in badan arruurinayey wuxuu campaign ku gali lahaa. Run ahaantii wuxuu safaaradda u isticmaalay sidii gurigiisa. Wax lala yaabo ma ahan waa caadada dadka Soomaaliyeed oo dhan ay ka dhigteen dhaqan. In ay runtahay arintaas waxaan idin la wadaagayaa aniga dhib iga qabsatay Safaarada Nairobi. Xaaskayga ayaan Passport u codsanday. Waxaa la iga qaaday $130 iyo (2000 Kshs) ah. Waa lacag u dhigan $150 dollar. Ka dib waxaa naloo keenay 3 bilood ka dib, passport last name (magaca awoowuhu) khaldan yahay oo ka duwan sidii aan codsiga ku qornay. Markaaan ku sheegnay in magacan khaldan yahay, wiil yar oo aan wax badan fahansanayn si xushdarro badan ka muuqatana noola hadlayey ayaa wuxuu yidhi computer ayaa khalday magaca ee $100 kale bixiya si aan u soo saxo. Waan is afgaran waynay, sidii baanuna isagoo passport magac khaldan leh uga soo tagnay 11 bilood ka hor. Marka, xarunta oo dhan baaba u ekayd xarun tuugo isku bahaysatay. Waayo, dee anigaa idin la hadlayaa ayaa passport nalama siin lacagtiina waa nala ka qaatay. Waxaana nala ku dhacay magaca ummadda Soomaaliyeed iyo calankeediii hoostiisa. Kuwo kale oo badan oo sidaas loo dhacayna waa buuxaan.

  • Hirsi Fow

    Ninkaad kabaha ka tolanayso kabahiisa ayaa la eegaa. Ninkani ina adeerkii culusow ayuu raadkiisii raacay, markaas la yaab ma leh. Its cultural thing. Ninkii kale ee isna lacagtii dekeda cuney is from the same clan. Business as usual mate.

  • Mo Yabarag

    I don’t doubt for one moment this latest UN report on Somalia, in particular this guy, is biased. This corruption thing is embedded in the Somali fabric, particularly those currently in power I.e. Hassan Sheikh and his lot. This country is yearning for honest leaders

    • Hirsi Fow

      Sorry all. i was carried away by emotions and I ended up sleepwalking into clan territory. Crooks have no clan and I fully agree with you mate.

  • Mahad Mohamud

    why not so call a UN- Monitoring Group monitor and investigate UN officials who are the real mafia in the continent of Africa… I guess not👀

  • Mad Mad Qaroofka

    just wonder if 2016 election would be legit!! also, the corruption in Somalia’s officials is like typical norm to loot public funds. Since there is no meaningful and feared anti corruption agency, on which itself uses nepotism and deception tools to hide and protects those thiefs and traitors so that is why outside agency monitor and investigate officials like americo. All I can say is may almighty God save my beloved country coz 80 -90 percent of Somali politicians and officials are either corrupt or spy and the rest of who are honest and have dignity with nationalistic principle are hostage and voiceless.

  • Abdi Nur

    Gentlemen: the hope is fading for Somali state building. Let us go back to square one and form 50 different clan territories, just as we were before the European colonial powers arrived. Let us be colonized again for, say, 150 years. We may choose a decent western country like Sweden to run the 50 clan territories, each one ruled by a Swedish lady. Let us then learn us how to live like humans, in a civilized manner. Only after that we may try to be a republic again, with president, foreign minister, ambassadors that are worth the names. What do you think bros? I am serious!

    • Ahmed Baasto

      “We may choose a decent western country like Sweden to run the 50 clan territories, each one ruled by a Swedish lady.” You really made me laugh. Given our current dismal state, your idea merits consideration. At least, we will not be worse off.

    • Yassin

      Just asking, why it has to be Sweden and Swedish ladies. It would little less complicated if we choose an English speaking country since we’re communicating English here?
      Also, why write-off our newly found brother of #Turkey whom we seem to share a lot unlike the Europeans who got us into this mess in the first place?

      • Adam

        Yeah Turkey might be a good proposal, but Sweden is also one of the most generous countries in Western Europe in terms of aid and refugees.

      • Ahmed Baasto

        According to some, Turkey has exclusively provided their support to one Somali clan. Since they have shown bias already, they cannot be our new overlords.

  • Ali Bahar

    Dear Abdi Nur,

    Your suggestion has some validity to it; going back to the primitive tribal system and ask for a trusteeship for another 50 years will need the courage and a grand agreement among Somali tribes. In about 13 years ago the same question was discussed in a now- defunct Somali think tank-ISRAAC.
    We thought Trusteeship was the only way to finding peace among the warring factions-the
    warlords-at the time. However, those whose warlords were controlling multiple checkpoints in Mogadishu and elsewhere attached us on the idea, labeling it as a foreign interference attempt of the Somali sovereignty. What sovereignty?
    Interference without permission is what we have today! Now each tribe should
    fend for itself and survive, which includes oppressing other tribes in the same
    region.
    I like your perspective, but do you think Somalis will agree on anything? Each tribe will choose their own European country- probably their former colonial rulers- to come back; and they are many. However, today’s reality dictates that Ethiopia, Djibouti and many African countries will overrule such proposal, as they are the new neo-colonial powers- the Swedish lady in the region. “It is an African problem”, they claim. Somalia is a cash crop fro them!
    My question is this [though I think I know the answer]: If all of us in here are really troubled by the state of our Somali people [forget a country], then how come we don’t have the
    courage to come together and try to effect a change? If, for example, WardheerNews organizes a grand conference for all its audience-from different tribes- to come together and discuss the Somali problem, I doubt if anyone will show up? What is holding us back? Expedience [comfortable] with our tribal system; we are not serious!

    Waxaan jecelnahay in aan “Birqaab
    Ku Adinno”.

    Thanks for the idea.

    • Abdi Nur

      Dear Ali Bahar, thanks for the feedback! I have been living in exile for 30 years and I lost any hope to return to my home country (Somalia), which is why I suggest a radical thinking. I believe our independence was somewhat premature. We were pastoralists, talented in oral poetry and with lots of clan mythology. But we never learned how to run state affairs. We need to learn the business of state-running from the scratch.
      I agree with you that we don’t have the courage to come together and make the change. One idea that I have been working in the past years to create a new Somali Clan, the 6th clan (to stay out of the 4.5 formula). We may call the new clan Samaale. This new clan may attract all clean, patriotic, and peace-loving Somalis who are tired of the clan system in Somalia. Anyone who is willing to publicly denounce his/her former clan could be a member of the newly established clan. I am the first to do that. We may then work inside Somalia to start the long journey of declanization process. I believe the principal problem of Somalia is the clan affiliation. That being absent, the current failed politicians would not be in office in the first place. If anyone is willing to join me, we may submit an article with our names and with our former clan affiliations and declare our new identity – the new Samaale clan or the 6th clan. That would be a good start.

      • Ahmed Baasto

        Why didn’t you choose a novel name? The mythical name you have chosen to name your new tribe has already been soiled.

        • Abdi Nur

          Oops! I am sorry. I didn’t know that. What about “Tolla’ay”? That should be neutral or at least mean “Clanless”. Whatever, my point is to ridicule the clan system and to show that it is a political invention rather than biological lineage, which has not served well the interest of the Somali people.

      • Adam

        Interesting proposal but somewhat maybe not doable. I think what Somalia needs is visionary leaders who can rise above this clan BS and unite the country ( as much as a daunting task that maybe). I think out of the millions of Somalis in the world, there must be at least one. I would be interested to know in what you think of Farmaajo?

        • Abdi Nur

          Brother, I know nothing about him. He may or may not be a decent person. But I don’t like the process that made him and others leaders. There should be a better way to elect leaders. And that should be their merits, not their clan affiliations. Hassan should never be president in the first place. Nor Farmaajo should be a PM selected by Sharif for being a certain clan. That is why I need a radical change.

      • Ahmed Ismail

        Dear Abdi Nur,
        Your daydream is amusing. I would not blame you for mocking the status quo in frustration, I suspect that you are joking here. But denying reality would not change reality, we are all tribesmen. But that is not fatal since Somali tribes have no conflicting interests. They all need security, and improvements in the country’s institutional and physical infrastructure. One could think of few projects that can benefit them all. I understand that there are limited resources, but if honest tribes-people get together, each declares his/her interests, I suspect all common interests can be accommodated over time. It is the dishonest elites that have conflicting interests. There are only few positions where one can steal millions. Those who are in these positions are stealing while the rest are fighting them, not to stop the theft but, to take their turn in pillaging of what little public property is there. These dishonest elites succeeded in outsourcing their conflict to the rest of the population.

        After all that talk, it is depressing to resign to the fact that I have no solution. But pointing to the right direction, that we are who we are and we may not wish that away, may help a little in our quest for answers.

      • Ahmed Ismail

        Dear Abdi Nur,
        Your daydream is amusing. I would not blame you for mocking the status quo in frustration, I suspect that you are joking here. But denying reality would not change reality, we are all tribesmen. But that is not fatal since Somali tribes have no conflicting interests. They all need security, and improvements in the country’s institutional and physical infrastructure. One could think of few projects that can benefit them all. I understand that there are limited resources, but if honest tribes-people get together, each declares his/her interests, I suspect all common interests can be accommodated over time. It is the dishonest elites that have conflicting interests. There are only few positions where one can steal millions. Those who are in these positions are stealing while the rest are fighting them, not to stop the theft but, to take their turn in pillaging of what little public property is there. These dishonest elites succeeded in outsourcing their conflict to the rest of the population.

        After all that talk, it is depressing to resign to the fact that I have no solution. But pointing to the right direction, that we are who we are and we may not wish that away, may help a little in our quest for answers.

  • Dhacarbe Abdul

    Diaspora…schooled…?
    I see here names that sound familiar from past government / nation looters….such as c/nur…..!!!!
    I am not sure if other people share with me this observation, but I see that countries are saved by intelligent/ educated people. In the case of Somalia , those who went to school, particularly in the West are the worst of the TRAITORS. Those leaders who have lived in the country are mostly only stupids who heard money is good…, those who go back into the country ( I..e..diaspora) are mostly stupids who need only money…!
    This later group they are so full of it, they think school Diploma=intelligence and it reminds me of the Somali song by the poet Ali Sugule; af qalaad aqoontu Miyaa….!!!, draw your own conclusion….!

  • Dhacarbe Abdul

    Let’s Go and create that new tribe of people with clean mind and Heart….!

  • Mo Yabarag

    I agree with Ali on this point. Even If we decide to go for trusteeship, which I myself advocated for sometime now, I don’t think Somali clans will agree on anything, leaving the way for Ethiopia and Kenya to divide the country between themselves with Somali stooges at the helm of it. so, I don’t see no ending in Somali misery. It is doomsday scenario; dead-end if you like.

    • Yasin Abdi

      Some Somali clans may feel otherwise and think that life is hunky-dory and they may refer to those who are complaining about the state of our country as “sore losers” who cannot accept the new order (their new “dominance” as they see it in their warped mindset), as Dr. Bahar has alluded in his comment. What would you do to such people? In fact, to those people, the continuation of the nation’s misery and anarchy provides them for an opportunity and is a means to an end (recognition). As a result, they may scoff at any suggestion that anything is amiss in Somalia. Secessionists are a prominent example here. Their involvement in terror and aggression against their neighbors bespeaks a lot about their evil intentions. As long as we have such people in our midst, we will be in this for a long time to come until finally someone steps in to either put the country under UN rule or partition it between Ethiopia and Kenya.

  • Adam

    So Americo is not the charming, honest potential leader he was portraying himself as. It sad how all this so-called leaders are corrupt to the core!

  • Mad Mad Qaroofka

    first of all the issue here is corruption towards so call Somali officials no matter what bullshit tribe they are!!!. Second, for the past 25 and so years have any section of Somali society sit together without interference from outside and talk about the real deal’ the answer is no maybe bogus reconciliations of jabuti,ethiopia,egypt,turkey etc . Therefore, those who believe to but Somalia under trusteeship might underestimate or understand what trusteeship all about Somali is independent country who is geographically became a victim of dark forces wether they are from Arabian gulf states, eu or frontline states in Africa like Ethiopia,kenya,jibouti etc. To my view, Somalia lacks political will and suffers chronic division interms of sociological structure in general and no vision in the future

  • Shimbirale

    You can’t start with prosecution with my Clansman Americo. You have to go back to Abdiqasim administration, Abdullahi Yusuf, Shaky Ala Sheikh and then u can come to Damuljadiid administration. Yaa eey ah fartiisa xun la firiq firiq isaga jaray. Go, go, go my brother Americo run for the Presidency in 2016. i doubted anyone more cleaner will be in the fray. F the UN monitoring. We all know UN is institution built on corruption from its own very foundation. How dare they accuse my distant cousin.

  • Runsheeg Xaqaani

    The ambassador has done an exceptional job during his tenure in Somali Embassy, Nairobi. and that is what counts.. there in Somalia lot of people accuse just for a single bad experience that they had with a public officer and the writer resembles that category.