By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (THT) – Media houses publishing unfounded reports have been castigated by the government.
The castigation is related to recent media reports that indicated that the government interfered in the judgments and subsequent sentencing for corrupt practices related to malfeasance in connection to food aid by three former top officials and their civilian allies.
According to Hon Abdirahman Yusuf Duale “Boobe” the minister of information and national guidance who also doubles as the official government spokesperson, neither the executive nor other members of the government interfered in the case that saw the culprits receive sentences of between 1-8 years imprisonment.
Hon Boobe asked journalists to ensure that they publish factual reports as they are the fourth estate which means that they are ranked fourth in hierarchy of institutions that serve the public. He warned that sensational news are not only detrimental to national development but peaceful co-existence as well.
The information minister informed this in a press statement released by his office that also urged central committee members as well as some members of parliament from the ruling Kulmiye party to utilize proper channels when addressing grievances.
Below are the full excerpts of the press statement:
Republic of Somaliland
Ministry of Information & National Guidance
According to recent reports emanating from various media establishments, accusations have been launched against the government claiming its interference in the judicial process which recently found guilty and sentenced former senior officials accused of misappropriating food aid meant for drought victims living in internally displaced persons camps.
It has always been and remains the policy of the President of Somaliland, H.E Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo, not to interfere in the due process of law as it pertains to cases ongoing in the court system. It is neither the norm nor the tradition of the government to interfere in the proceedings of the judiciary system. As such, the country’s courts are free to arrive at judgments independent from directives or coercion on the part of the executive.
This record of non-interference can be seen in the extent to which the government has abstained from involving itself in some of the most politically important cases the judiciary has faced. The courts of Somaliland have been known to have adjudicated various politically-oriented suits—including internal disputes between members of political parties like UCID and UDUB—without fear or favour, to the satisfaction of not only the belligerent parties but the citizenry as well.
Those seeking to make accusations will therefore have to explain why the government would become involved in ordinary criminal and civil cases when it has refrained from interfering in the judgments of political cases where its interests were entangled.
At the same time, the President has neither received a request to pardon the convicted officials, nor has he pardoned anyone so far. The President and his administration are committed to adhering to the rulings made by the country’s courts of law on any case, be they political, criminal or civil.
The government asks the Kulmiye Central Committee members and members of the Houseof Representatives who have chosen to make public their concerns so as to arouse negative public sentiment to instead use the proper legal and dispute-resolution channels to address their concerns. Just as those who have been accused of these crimes are entitled to fair trials before receiving a verdict of guilt, so too is the government entitled to a fair chance to defend and explain its actions before the opinion of some are accepted as fact.
“Guushaada waa lala jiraa, gees ha ka ahaanin.”
“Be not apart, but part of your victory”
Abdirahman Yusuf Duale “Boobe”
Minister of Information and National Guidance and Official Government Spokesperson
End of Press Statement
The case in question emanated after three top officials were arrested on the 10th March 2012 for allegedly misappropriating food aid donation.
The three Ahmed Omar H Abdilahi “Hamarje” former Maroodi Jeeh-Hargeisa regional governor, Ahmed Elmi Bile former Director General at the ministry of resettlement and Osman Saeed Jama a former senior advisor to the Vice president were charged with stealing food aid meant for drought displaced citizens currently residing in various IDP camps in Hargeisa.
Following several hearings in a Hargeisa court where they were found guilty, Ahmed Omar H Abdilahi “Hamarje and Ahmed Elmi Bile were sentenced to 3 years imprisonment while Osman Saeed Jama was given 1 years sentence with an option of 3 million Somaliland shillings ($450) fine which he paid thus a free man now.