By: Ali Ege, Toronto
Towards the end of 2013, the idea of building the Erigavo road came around. Despite the difficulties and enormity of the Project, the general public received the undertaking with open arms. They responded to the call for donations quite enthusiastically both at home and abroad. Government employees as well the business community contributed handsomely to the cause. The government on its part allowed two sources of funding- direct budget inclusion (4 million USD for 2014) and per head extra-levies on the livestock for export. Immediately, thereafter, the money availed for the project disappeared from public scrutiny and view.
The National Roads Authority has been put under the direct auspices of the President a few months before or more accurately under the direct rule and control of then Minister of Presidency, Mr. Xirsi. Riding supreme with confidence and having gained the public trust and support in addition to that of the President, Mr. Xirsi delved himself into the noble cause of going about the construction of the Erigavo road. Money poured in from every avenue possible which was conveniently placed into private accounts run by the minister with the acquiescence of the President, of course. The legality of the measure is for the reader to ponder. Public donations for a public cause is obliged to government scrutiny and accounting by both the General Accountant and the Auditor general. Contracts out of the bursary collected henceforth ought to be monitored for impropriety and accountability.
Furthermore, one of the first actions taken was the purchase of the construction equipment from China. This was done without legalized bidding process and complete avoidance of the Contract Commission, the legal entity entrusted with government procurement authority.No announcements of tender had been made and the purchase was done directly by the office of the Presidency without financial scrutiny and diligent control. The equipment arrived at Berbera Port and was enthusiastically received and cleared from customs in the most efficient ways possible- exempt from all duties- the equipment being governmental property. The president’s visit to the Public Works Ministry warehouse accompanied by the media galore and every minister available was broadcast live with open fanfare and applause. The equipment consisted of:
Four (5) Sino Truck Howo 20t-30t@ 30,000 USD 150,000
One Used caterpillar/komatsu Grader @ 40,000 USD 100,000
Five (5) front loader (2 Tons) @ 8000-11000 USD 55,000
Heavy duty Sino Mover truck @ 30,000 USD 30,000
2 heavy drum (20t) compactor rollers (5 t)@20,000 USD 40,000
Plus a few other equipment 20,000
The total amount spent on the equipment purchase had been 395,000 USD in Total
These prices can be checked at all Chinese websites that carry equipment of the same nature.
The said amount is far short of the 7.5 million dollars that had been announced to have been used to purchase the said equipment.
In addition to this, sometime in July 2016 the new minister of Public works repeats the same feat by announcing the arrival of a new fleet of eight (8) Howo 24 ton vehicles (brilliant yellow in color) for the same Erigavo project. The astonishing thing is the disappearance of the old fleet bought by Hersi. The same red ochre Howo vehicles had been seen working for Al-Harbi (ina Farax Xarbi) filling the sea shore mile long area as vehicles being posed as privately owned. The government property, which these vehicles had been plainly in front of the public notice, is now being portrayed as privately owned vehicles. The Somaliland people’s intelligence is being insulted.
The switch of the vehicles to private ownership has taken place during the purchase of the new yellow fleet of vehicles. Otherwise there was no need to purchase a new fleet at all. One can speculate that the government owned vehicles have been re-rented to the government at exorbitant prices. Only in 2016, Ali Marehan, the new minister off-handedly mentioned that he inherited a 5 million dollar debt from his predecessor.
This preposterous assertion is clear and unadulterated lie being done in collusion together by the former and new ministers to rip the Somaliland people’s treasury. Xirsi completed 14 km of the Erigavo road and is said to have left a 5 million dollar debt. Is this not an apparent treachery and rip-off of the Somaliland government coffers? The jewel of Silanyo’s accomplishments, i.e. the Erigavo road, has now become a graveyard to rob the Somaliland People and its meager resources by unscrupulous cousins of the president.
Ali Ege, Toronto – June 2017,