By. M. A. Egge
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Chief Principal Officer of Somaliland Immigration Department Col. Mohammed Ali Yusuf has vehemently denied press reports that his department issued the illegal Somalia E-passports.
At the same time he categorically denied that he played part in the circumstances surrounding the release of five suspects accused of the vice.
“The Somalia passports are invalid, illegal hence banned in this country”, thundered Col. Yusuf in his office to members of the press.
“This office only issues the Somaliland passports alone, and anything to the contrary is null and void”, he said.
He dispelled rumours that he had anything to do with the release of the suspects whose case the prosecution entered nolle-proseque following 45 days of custody in CID hands.
“It should be noted that it is we, as the department, who apprehended them hence whatever policy or procedures entailed in their release depended on the administration”, explained Col. Yusuf.
He was emphatic, “This department has comprehensive intelligence and security arms, and by thus, is always vigilante hence only does its job”.
The immigration boss further elaborated that the Somali E-passports was invalid since it was last banned by the Interior minister and “it remained so”.
Saying that the State was clear on the fact that the SL passports will be modernized before the end of the year, a time he said, also expected to see the country receive its new code. Col. Yusuf said that the country’s passports were valid in almost two dozen countries and wherever else a visa is allowed.
He is on record to have said before that the Somali passports would be treated as any foreign one.
On Monday the 18th November 2013 a local Somali language newspaper,Hubaal, alleged that the local immigration office was behind the release of suspects accused of running a syndicate of issuing Somalia passports within the country illegally. It also alleged that the syndicate was fronted by a cartel of a half a dozen cabinet ministers, an allegation which is quite damning if not verified.
The said paper however said that they were ready to authenticate or verify the allegations if they are asked to.