By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – 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 in various media houses, the government is accused of interfering in the judiciary as pertains to the judgments imposed on former senior officials accused of misappropriating food aid meant for drought victims hosted in internally displaced persons camps.
It has never been and it is not the policy of the president of Somaliland H.E Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo, to interfere in the due process of law as pertains to cases ongoing in the courts thus the prevalent independence of our judiciary system. Therefore courts in the country are free to judge and impose judgments without directions from the executive.
The courts of Somaliland are known to have adjudicated various cases including political differences between members of political parties like UCID and UDUB without fear or favour, to the satisfaction of not only the belligerent politicians but citizens as well.
It is therefore clear to all that if the government does not interfere in the judgments of political cases where it has interests then it does not interfere with the judgments of criminal and civil cases.
On the other hand, there is no reason for the government to interfere with the recent case, judgments and sentencing of the food aid misappropriation case against senior public officials. In fact it is the government that instigated the case by arresting the corrupt officials who made history by becoming the first senior administration officials to be accused and detained for corruption by the administration they worked for
At the same time, the president has neither received a request to pardon the convicted officials and neither has he pardoned any.
The president and his administration are determined to always adhere to rulings made by the country’s courts of law on any case be it political, criminal or civil.
As per members of Kulmiye party’s central committee and members of parliament from the same party who are complaining it will be better if the follow normal procedures so that their grievances can be addressed properly
“Be not apart, but part of the nation” (“Guushaada waa lala jiraa, gees ha ka ahaanin.”)
Hon Abdirahman Yusuf Duale “Boobe”
Official Government spokesperson and Minister of Information & National Guidance
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.