Somalia: Bosaso port closed over quality control row

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

BOSASO, Puntland - The main seaport of Bosaso, the commercial city of Somalia's northeastern Federal member State of Puntland remained closed for more than a week over quality control dispute, Garowe Online reports.

Sources revealed to GO that closure came following an intense dispute between local traders and a Quality Control firm tasked with checking the cargo arriving at the port.

Puntland's Minister of Trade, Abdilwali Hersi Abdulle [Indhaguran] said his ministry set up a department for quality inspection at the harbour in the airports in the state after having seen poor quality goods imported in the past.

GO has learned that government officials and businessmen allied to the presidency hold a stake in the firm which is based in the house of the 2nd deputy speaker of the state Parliament Abdihakin Sheikh Abdisalam in Bosaso city.

According to the report, several Puntland parliamentarians, including Nuuh Dheere, Abdirisack Muse and Mohamud Dheere are among the stakeholders of the quality control company operating at the state's ports and airports.

To acquire government legitimacy, the traders who had the establishing idea of the agency granted Puntland government officials, including commerce minister and Chief of Staff a stake in the business, the sources said.

Additionally, Puntland President, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali "Gaas" who has cut the ribbon on a new quality control service introduced at the port last year was reported to be aware of the firm's illegal share-based system.

- Seaport closure causes -

The row surfaced after the businessmen have resisted paying a large amount of money for quality check service of their commercial goods at Bosaso's seaport as a consequence the operations of the Port have been suspended.

President Ali left the city for Garowe, Puntland capital while the dispute remains unsettled.

However, there have been separate meetings between local merchants and the Ministry of trade at the HQ of the Chamber of Commerce in Bosaso to seek a solution for the crises crippled the port, the economic hub of Puntland.

Last week, the president has fired seven top officials at Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources after being alleged of corruption, the main factor of the problem in the current Puntland government.

The Deputy Minister of the Ministry, Mohamud Mohamed Ali and the Director-General Ali Hersi Farah were among those removed from office, according to a statement from the presidential palace released last Wednesday.